“I’ve seen variations of this dish all over the place, here in the UK, but also in Turkey, France and Italy, which to me is an exciting situation as no one has ownership over the recipe, and its ubiquitousness and longevity is a sure-fire sign that beans and tomatoes are a tried-and-tested combination,” says chef Gizzi Erskine.
“Traditionally, the beans are meant to be served a little more cooked than you might be used to seeing these days, and are as a result not as vibrant, but have the confidence to let them to lose some of their colour in order to achieve the right texture.
“Here, they are cooked for less than the standard 30 minutes, and are instead allowed to cook a little further in the residual heat of the pan once it’s removed from the hob, to maintain some freshness and bite.
Braised flat beans in slow cooked tomato sauce
- Heavy bottomed casserole dish
- Food processor
- Wide saucepan
- 3 tbsp confit garlic oil or regular oil
- 1/2 dried chilli
- pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 1 sprig of rosemary or marjoram or oregano
- 400 g Slow Cooked Tomatoe Suace (see below)
- 500 g flat beans stalk ends cut off
- 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 2-3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- 1/2 tsp pul biber
- good handful of a combination of chopped flat-leaf parsley, dill and mint leaves
For the Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce (makes 6 portions):
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 head of garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 2 kg tomatoes (variety of mixtures)
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine or white wine vinegar
- large bunch of basil leaves
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Make the Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce: heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed casserole dish over a medium heat, add the garlic and fry gently for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Meanwhile, blitz the tomatoes into a puree. When the garlic is ready, add the tomatoes to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, add the vinegar and cook slowly for about an hour and 30 minutes to reduce. Blitz again until smooth if you wish. Tear and add the basil.
- Heat the confit garlic oil or regular oil in a wide saucepan (one wide enough to fit the beans in whole) over a high heat, and add the dried chilli, dried chilli flakes and rosemary, marjoram or oregano. Allow to infuse the oil for a minute, then pour in the tomato sauce and lay the beans flat in the pan. Add the salt and a splash of water and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until the beans are tender but still retain a bit of bite. Check for seasoning, remove from the heat and set aside to cool (they will cook a little further in the sauce while they cool).
- When ready to serve, spoon over the yoghurt, sprinkle over the pul biber and scatter the chopped herbs on top.
Restore by Gizzi Erskine is published by HQ. Photography Issy Croker.
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