Well, it’s not exactly jumper wearing and the heating needs to be turned on weather, but the sun seems to have taken a wee break the past couple of days and the grey skies are making me think of soups, casseroles and stews.
I have made countless variations of this dish – used cannellini beans instead of butter beans, used feta instead of goats cheese, used different herbs – use whatever you have at hand. That’s the fun part about cooking, experiment and see what happens. Yes there will be dishes where you probably wouldn’t even attempt to give it to the dog (although my dog isn’t overly fussy and will pretty much inhale anything given the chance!) but then there are some recipes that the more you make and change, you end up with a great dish.
I know when I first started to get into cooking I was a bit scared to adapt a recipe or I worried that if I made changes and the dish was a failure then that was proof that I wasn’t cut out for this cooking thing. Well I’ve discovered that yes, sometimes dishes don’t work out as you had planned but more often than not you learn more about the ingredients you’re working with, what goes together, what doesn’t, what’s the best cooking method, timings etc. As I say in my ‘About’ page, I’m not a trained chef but I like to be in the kitchen trying out new recipes and experimenting with different flavours.
Anyway, back to the this bake. I love butter beans, they have a soft, slightly floury texture but if you don’t like butter beans try cannellini beans. You can easily double the recipe if you’re making it for a crowd and when it comes to seasoning I’d go lightly with the salt as the cheese can be quite salty.
-1Tbsp. olive oil or rapeseed oil
-1 red onion, diced
-1 carrot, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
-1 Tbsp. tomato puree mixed with 1/4 cup water
-1x400g tin of chopped tomatoes
-1x400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
-1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-60g soft goats cheese, crumbled
-Salt & Pepper to taste
How To Make
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F
In a large pan heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic with a pinch of salt (the salt will help draw water out of the vegetables)
Sweat the vegetables over a low/medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. The vegetables should start to soften and the onion should become translucent.
Once the vegetables have softened, add the oregano and stir.
Next add the tomato puree with water, tomatoes and butter beans. Stir well and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Season to taste (try a bit of your cheese to check for saltiness to determine how much salt to add to the dish)
Pour the mixture into an ovenproof casserole and crumble the cheese on top.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Add a little water if you notice it is drying out.
This is delicious served as it is or try it as a filling to a baked sweet potato or with a big green salad on the side.