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Archive for August 6th, 2010

The soft cream, beige, brown and maroon colours of a mixed bean salad is attractive and delicious addition as part of a summer salad meal and a useful dish to serve on a buffet table.  I tend to make a large potful and keep it in the fridge to eat over several days – but I find it rather ‘moreish’ and it is very difficult not to help myself to a quick spoonful every time I open the door! 

These recipes come from Vegetarian Kitchen by Sarah Brown, the book of her BBC TV series from the 1980s.  I first made these marinade recipes not long after seeing the series and buying the book and I find it difficult to decide which is my favourite, so I have posted both.  Mixed dried beans can be bought and cook them in advance, in which case about an hour needs to be added to the preparation time.  I find, however, that the beans often end up looking a similar colour, losing the individual shades which go to make the salad rather pretty.  The best way to avoid this is to use tins of pre-cooked beans, gently warming them through first to help soak up the flavours of the chosen marinade.  It used to be much more economical to buy and cook dried beans, but tinned beans are much less expensive now, especially if bought from the ethnic food aisle or from the supermarket’s ‘economy’ range.  Both marinades look virtually the same: as for flavour, the ‘Dark & Spicy’ is actually not very hot (increase the proportions if you wish after you have given it a try) the ‘Light & Sharp’ is a fragrant mixture of lemon, garlic and ginger.  I usually make this second one for entertaining.  Any leftovers keep well in the fridge and can be eaten over two or three days if necessary – if there is any left.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Marinaded Mixed Bean Salad
(Serves 8 – more as part of a buffet)

For the Bean Mixture use either:
4-5 400g tins of ready cooked beans
red kidney, borlotti, haricot/cannellini, black eye peas & chick peas – choose varied colours (empty the beans into a saucepan and gently warm through before dressing with chosen marinade – be careful not to cook as they are often already very soft
     or
Mixed dried beans about 1kg
 – half the weight of the eventual amount of cooked beans. (Cover with water, do not add any salt, bring to the boil and boil for 10 mins.  This is important as Red Kidney beans contain a toxin which can cause stomach upsets unless they are boiled in this way – and Red Kidney beans are needed for their colour. Continue to cook on low heat, still without adding any salt, until softened – around 1 hour in total.  Drain well and dress with chosen marinade.  The liquid can be used as a stock to enrich other recipes.) 

Dark & Spicy Marinade
6fl ozs/175ml olive oil
3fl ozs/75ml red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground coriander
1 tsp freshly ground cumin
½ tsp chilli powder
1 clove garlic, crushed

Light & Sharp Marinade
6fl ozs/17ml sunflower oil
3fl ozs/75ml lemon juice
½tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
½tsp dry mustard powder (Colemans English is ideal)
½tsp freshly grated root ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed

1.  Mix together the ingredients for the chosen marinade.

2.  Prepare the bean mixture (either by using tins or by pre-cooking dried beans – see above).

3.  While the beans are warm, pour the marinade over and gently stir to combine. 

4.  Cover and leave in a cool place, transferring to the fridge if possible once cold, to allow the flavours to permeate the beans.  Ideally do this overnight or at least for severall hours.

5.  Just before serving chopped parsley can be sprinkled over the salad to add extra colour – for the Dark & Spicy marinaded beans chopped fresh coriander can be substituted.

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