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Braised borlotti beans – Barbunya Pilaki

Pilaki is a style of Turkish mezze, where vegetables and beans are cooked with a base of onions, garlic, tomato in olive oil. This classic Turkish dish slow cooks borlotti beans in a tomato base until softened and creamy, served with lemon and herbs for a fresh kick. This is so delicious on it’s own or served with a side of bread. It also works beautifully as part of a mezze selection with yoghurt, dips and a fresh herb salad.

Serves 4

100ml olive oil

1 red onion, finely sliced

2 medium carrots, small diced

4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

1 tbsp tomato paste

4 tomatoes, diced

1x can chopped tomatoes

250ml veg stock

3 sprigs of oregano leaves

3 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

2x cans borlotti beans or 350g dried*

1 lemon

1. Heat a deep frying pan over a medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and carrot with a big pinch of salt and cook until starting to soften, about 8 mins. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 2 mins, then add the tomatoes, herbs and beans.

2. Pour over the can tomatoes and veg stock and bring everything to a simmer. Make sure there is enough liquid to just cover the beans, or top up with more veg stock. Cover the pan and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the beans are soft and the sauce has thickened.

3. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Top with lemon zest, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

*If using dry beans, place in a container and cover with cold water. Leave overnight to soak. Drain off the water then transfer the beans to a deep saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes until cooked but still have a bite.

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