Friday, May 20, 2011

Alternative side dish: White Bean Mash.

There will come a time when I post a whole real dish to this blog. But not so soon.
Let's just begin with a side dish, shall we?
A not sweet, not cookie related post! Yeah!

About a year ago my husband struggled with some health issues. (No that is a happy start for food post!)
Nothing too serious but annoying for him either way. We assumed it could be allergies and took the required tests. As it turned out my husband had a quite severe case of hay fever (olive pollen anyone?!) and some food items (I, on the other hand, as listed here am pretty much allergic to everything fun).
Those few food items, unfortunately, were also my husbands favorites: Spinach, potatoes and fish.
Because there is no medication for food related allergies, the doctors prescription was: Stay away from these foods for a couple of weeks and then introduce them again, one by one, and see what happens (no, luckily, his reactions weren't as severe as allergies against tree nuts or the like).
(The couple of weeks turned into months, but gladly, my husband is no fully back to eating whatever suits him. Not so me.)

Anyway, while potatoes aren't a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, they are were I come from and I do most of the cooking when I am around. Paired with my phobia of cooking rice I was on the search for alternatives whenever I made classic three component dinners (meat, starch, vegetable).

And here is where Nigella Lawson came to the rescue. I adore this woman. Have you ever listened to her speak? So british and so nice. Watching her make a "Caramel Croissant Pudding" makes me want one right away, despite the calories she is putting in it.
Back to topic. In her book "Nigella Express" she makes a White Bean Mash that takes about 10 minutes from start to finish, is not only fast but also very easy and incredibly tasty.
Everything you would want in mashed potatoes - without any in it.
I could imagine using her seasonings - lemon zest, rosemary, olive oil - for mashed potatoes as well. Maybe I'll do and tell you about it later on!

White Bean Mash
White Bean Mash
adapted from "Nigella Express"

2/3 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
3 14oz cans white beans
1/4 cup stock or water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Warm the olive oil in a medium sized pot, add the garlic, lemon zest and the rosemary.
Meanwhile drain and rinse the beans under a tap to get rid of the gloop, then add them to the pan and warm through, stirring and squishing with a wide flat spoon (MM: I usually use the help of a potato masher but don't overdo it. We don't want a uniform texture.).
I usually end up adding some liquid to the pot at this point to get the beans creamy.
Season with salt and pepper. Some beans come saltier than others.

I served these beans the other day with some roasted chicken and a green salad with avocado my husband had made (there was some orange zest in the vinaigrette!).

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