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Italian Bean Dip (Vegan)

“Beans, beans are good for your heart!” etc. Never mind the side-effects (!),I am a great lover of them, as they are not only delicious and nutritious, but so versatile. All round the Mediterranean region, pulses like beans, fresh and dried peas and lentils are used in dips and spreads. Depending on the region and the ingredients used locally, different herbs are used for flavoring. The best fava/broad beans to use for this recipe are the skinless type; they cook quickly, taste better and have more delicate texture. This dip is delicious as a starter or a side-dish, or as a snack meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups/400 g broad beans/dried fava beans
  • 1 freshly made bouquet garni of bay leaf, parsley, celery rib/stalk and thyme
  • 1 potato, unpeeled
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon (4-5 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup/60 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra to drizzle
  • 6 sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted ciabatta or sourdough bread, to serve

Method

  1. Soak the beans for 4 hours or overnight in cold water. Drain, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, and simmer until tender. Drain again.
  2. Put the beans in a large saucepan with the bouquet garni, onion and potato, and add 2 quarts/2 litres of boiling water. Bring to the boil, boil hard for 10 minutes, reduce the heat and cook, part-covered for 1½-2 hours or until you can crush the beans easily with your thumbnail.
  3. Drain the vegetables, reserving 2-3 tablespoons of liquid. Discard the bouquet garni. Working in batches if necessary, put the beans, potato, onion and garlic in a food processor, witht the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend it in short bursts until you have a lumpy but creamy purée. I find it is better left coarse and chunky, so that it has some texture, rather than completely smooth.
  4. Serve either hot, warm or cold a½s you like, with olive oil drizzled over the top and toasted ciabatta or other bread on the side.

What do you think?

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