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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Vegan Borlotti Beans with Bulrush Sticks

Here's another vegan recipe containing strange foraged items. Bulrush is a long leek like stem that commonly grows on the edge of ponds or slow moving rivers. The outer leaves are stringy and cant be eaten, however the inner pale grey/green leaves are sweet and starchy and almost dissolves on the tongue due to it's high starch content. Sweet like peas and reminds me of a softer asparagus.
During the summer fresh borlotti beans are available at your local fresh produce store and far superior in creamy texture over the canned or dried verities. Also Wild fennel seems to be growing madly this time of year and can be found in most parks and reserves, however the more it sits in the sun the more bronze it becomes, but still full of flavour.

1.2kg fresh borlotti beans
8 plum tomatoes
1 carrot
1 red onion
1 red pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
2 bay leaf
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt
250ml apple juice
50ml extra virgin olive oil
8 bulrush
100g baby spinach washed

Shell the borlotti beans and place in a 3cm deep baking tray. Quarter tomatoes, peel and roughly dice the carrot and onion, slice pepper in half and remove the seeds then roughly dice. Peel and crush the garlic, dice the chilli and add both to baking tray along with tomato, carrot, onion, red pepper, bay, paprika, salt, apple juice and olive oil. Roughly mix together and cover in foil, place in oven set at 160oC for 1 hour and 30 minutes, give a little stir once cooked for 45 minutes and return to the oven.
In the mean time trim the tops off bulrush and remove a couple of the tough outer leaves then slice in half lengthways, the edible part of bulrush should be a very pale green or white colour.
Once borlotti beans are cooked remove foil and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
To serve place some baby spinach in a bowl and spoon over borlotti beans and garnish with wild fennel then serve with several sticks of bulrush on the side.

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