“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Broader Than Broadway

So last time I asked the question... what the heck are these?

Both Patricia Wilson of Passionate Food (who should know, really) and my sister Carolyn correctly answered

"Broad Beans!"

Now, I can hear some of you saying hang on a minute Jeff - whaddya mean Broad Beans? Well, the broad bean, or Vicia Faba to give it its Latin name, is also known as the Field Bean, Fava Bean, Bell Bean or Tic Bean.  As it happens, the word 'fava' is Italian for 'broad', so there you go. 

What can one do with a jolly old broad bean? Well, I suppose I could do a Hannibal Lecter and give you a recipe for Fava Beans with Liver. (As you may or may not recall, Lecter told FBI Agent Clarice Starling in 1991's The Silence Of The Lambs that he had once eaten the liver of a census taker with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Well, why wouldn't he? He was a nut job. He was also a psychiatrist, and a very clever one at that, because he knew that fava beans, liver and Chianti are three of the 'forbidden foods' for patients taking MAO inhibitors. Clever clever.)

But I will do no such thing. Let's do something altogether more exciting, eh?

Broad beans gravitate towards pork, and are often found mingling with bacon and luxurious hams like pancetta. Vegetarian beans like a bit of wine and butter, and maybe a sprinkling of parsley or mint. Baby beans are boiled for 5 minutes and eaten with the skin on, but older ones like to cook more, then have skins peeled. Try this: toss cooked broad beans, boiled potatoes and pasta, and some green pesto in a pan, then drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with some hard cheese.

How about a bit of seafood?

Broad Bean and Tiger Prawn Pilau

225 g shelled and cooked tiger prawns
280 g shelled organic broad beans
225 g long grain rice
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 large organic onion, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Lightly fry the onion and garlic in the oil in a large pan. Add the spices and cook gently until the onion has become tender. Stir in the rice and cook for another minute. Add 600 ml of water, season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil. Next add the broad beans and reduce the pan to a simmer. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. After this time add the prawns and then leave for another 5–10 minutes, or until the rice has become tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Add more hot water to the pot during cooking if necessary. Stir in the coriander and adjust the seasoning.

Okay folks, what's the new food?

Name This Food!


  1. Looks a lot like pico de gallo.

  2. How right you are, and good to know you are still with us, Iris!!


Come on and chew the fat!


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