About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Broad Beans - It's Spring
Well now it's official, spring is here.

Last night we had our first new season spring lamb and what a glorious piece of meat it was. When it comes to lamb roasting joints, the part we prefer, by a country mile, is shoulder. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with a leg, it's just that the shoulder has more structure and consequently more gelatinous bits to melt into the meat, leaving it moist, sticky and juicy. Being new season lamb means wonderful tenderness as well.

But as good and all as it is, new season lamb isn't for me the real harbinger of spring, it's a certain vegetable. You could guess asparagus or artichokes, which most certainly herald in spring, but the thing that announces spring's arrival like no other are broad beans. You see with asparagus and artichokes, you can eat them all season long and their isn't much change in their flavour or texture, but with new season broad beans, there is a short window when they are young, tender and very sweet and if small enough, don't even require double peeling.

So last night, I sat down with just over a kilo of pods - what was left after D had finished snacking on the raw beans - and podded and sorted into small, not requiring skinning and those slightly larger that did. When they were podded and sorted, it's a quick blanch for about thirty seconds to loosen the skin of the larger beans, which are then slipped off, then straight into the pot with them, for some very simple cooking.

Braised Broad Beans
(serves 4)

I kg broad beans, in pods
25g butter or 25ml olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or other herb
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt & fresh ground pepper

Pod the beans, if the beans are small don't skin them, the larger ones, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and skin. Heat the butter or olive oil in a pan, add all the broad beans and gently braise until almost tender, then add the parsley and garlic, season with salt and pepper and gently braise for another minute or until tender. Serve.


  posted at 8:23 am

At 11:19 am, Blogger Ed said...

Great isn't it, now it's spring. I mashed some beans up with fresh peas and spuds, garlic, mint, basil, fennel and ricotta - top with Salmon, lamb, beef.

At 12:27 pm, Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Just when we are starting to cook stews and root vegetables, it's lovely to read about spring in your part of the world!

At 6:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, you've got spring? Damnit, I think my little section of the world has gone straight back to winter - it was so cold today I didn't venture out of the house!

This sounds fantastic...would you believe that I've not had fresh broad beans before? I need to track some of these down...as well as some fresh soy beans! Any idea where I might find 'em?

At 9:49 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Close to a memory Neil. I remember talk about my grandmother's broad beans. Sadly the memory doesn't include me remembering eating them. As we go into winter, I'll be dreaming of your Spring and broad beans.

At 6:59 am, Blogger Blue Zebra said...

Neil the Spring lamb and the beans sound great!!! It's turning to fall here soon (hopefully this month so it's going to be great fun reading of your Spring into Summer as we go from hot hell to cold slumber!

I'm still thinking about what we can exchange btw! I'm thinking, dried chili pods for you? That's very Texan-ish :D

At 1:56 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ed, I don't think you missed a single ingredient there!

Hi lydia, that's the thing about blogging, always something different to the usual, though it is hard when you see a seasonal recipe that you want to try straight away...

Hi ellie, that's the bad part of spring, the weather is so variable at this time of year. I bought mine at my regular greengrocer, can't say I've seen them in the supermarkets, but I haven't really looked there.

Hi tanna, I wonder if your grandmother left the skins on? Perhaps that's why you can't remember.

Hi blue zebra, it's great to cool down when its been so hot, but then its great to warm up when its been so cold. The exchange sounds interesting, but I can get quite a few of your pods over here, but I might be interested in chile powders and/or spice rubs, what for you? There is a contact email on my front page on the right hand side.

At 10:44 pm, Blogger Jeanne said...

We are just reaching the end of our broad bean season - sob!! I adore broad beans beyond words and can't believe that I didn't know what they were till I got to England. On Monday night I lost a very dear friend to cancer and was feeling very emotionalyl battered and bruised. What was the only meal I felt like? Steamed broad beans tossed with olive oil and Spanish ham. That made things a little better...

At 7:20 pm, Blogger jasonbob said...

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