Black eyed beans with Leeks and Cavalo Nero
In Greek we call this “louvi me lahana”, It’s peasant food, which in my opinion is often the tastiest. This version was inspired by the family meals with my sister and parents. Although leeks wouldn’t have been used, I think this adds a touch of sweetness to the dish. Kale or chard are great alternatives to cavalo nero We always ate this with olives, chopped raw onion, salted herring and plenty of fresh bread. So, as my mum always says "Kali Orexi”! (Bon Appetit)
2 tinned Black eyed beans or 250g dried black eyed beans
1 large leek finely sliced
The juice of 1 -2 lemons
A large handful of Cavalo nero chopped
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Small handful of raw chopped onion
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil
1. If time isn’t on your side, use x 2 tinned black eyed beans drained and rinsed. Alternatively buy the dried beans, weigh out approximately 250g and put them in a bowl covered with water. Leave these overnight to soften so that it cooks faster the next day! When you’re ready to cook them , drain and add fresh water with the beans to a saucepan then simmer until the beans are cooked. For the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in the chopped Cavalo Nero and a generous pinch of salt.
2. If using tinned beans, drain and rinse then add them to a saucepan with hot water with the cavalo nero, cooking until the greens have soften and the beans are warmed through.
3. Whilst the beans are cooking, slice up your leeks. Leeks tend to hide lots of soil in their many layers, so to clean firstly take off the tough outer layers and trim off most of the very green part. With the sharpest knife you have, place the leek on a flat surface and cut vertically about half way down then fan out the layers then rinse them through. Finely slice the leeks.
4. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter, add a generous pinch of salt and stir in the leeks. Cook gently, stirring occasionally until the leeks starts to go a little golden in colour.
5. When the beans and greens are cooked/warmed through, drain and add to the pan with leeks. Stir in the dried thyme and the remainder of the butter, lemon juice a generous lug of extra virgin olive oil then season to taste. Sprinkle the chopped raw onion over the top.
6. When you serve, make sure to spoon up some of those delicious juices that will inevitably end up at the bottom of the pan so that you can dip your bread into it!