22 June 2017
Last week in Datça market piles of psychedelic pink-podded barbunya beans arrayed against their green-podded cousins caught our eye. In Turkey these distinctive beans, also known as borlotti or cranberry beans, are made into a starter called barbunya pilaki, which is always high on our list when ordering a spread of mezeler.
There’s something very therapeutic about podding these beans, like a beanish mindfulness moment! Our kilo of beans in their pods yielded around 600 g of pink-marbled white beans.
When cooked and allowed to cool, the pink colour leaches out and the beans take on a delicate brown hue. They’re delicious stewed with olive oil, onion, carrot, potato and lemon juice, served with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and a chunk of lemon. Some recipes omit the potato, but we think this gives the dish more oomph and means you don’t need to cook up any additional carbs.
They can be served hot as a less sugary take on baked beans, or served cold as part of the aforementioned selection of starters – Knidos Cookery Club recommends its carrot and walnut tarator, creamy almond and courgette dip, peppery muhammara and stuffed courgette flowers for a scrumptious feast of Turkish mezeler.
Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)
600 g shelled barbunya beans (or dried borlotti beans soaked overnight)
1 onion (around 100 g)
100 g carrot
100 g potato
100 g tomato
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Fresh parsley to garnish
50 g olive oil
400 ml hot water
Heat the olive oil into a heavy-based pan, chop the onion and garlic finely and fry over a medium heat for five minutes or so. Add the chopped tomatoes, lower the heat and cook for another five minutes.
Dice the carrot and potato into small cubes and then add these along with the beans, the juice of half a lemon, the honey, chili flakes and hot water to the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are cooked but not going mushy.
Serve hot or allow to cool and garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices.