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Slow-Cooked Beans with Tomatoes, Herbs & Red Wine

Serves:

Slow-Cooked Beans with Tomatoes, Herbs & Red Wine

Simple and very good. 

Ingredients: 

  • 250g/9 oz dried butter beans or other large beans of choice, eg kidney, pinto, cannellini - OR 2 tins, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 4 medium onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs or Greek oregano
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 450g/1 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or a 400g/14 oz tin of chopped tomatoes and juice
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
  • 230 ml/8 fl oz dry red wine
  • Salt to taste

Method: 

1. If using dried beans, soak them overnight in plenty of cold water. If you forget, pour boiling water on them, then leave to soak for at least 4 hours.
2. In a large, heavy pan or flame-proof casserole, warm the oil and sauté the onions and oregano for a few minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and wine.
3. Rinse the beans thoroughly in more cold water, then drain and add them to the pan. Stir well, and top up with a little water if necessary, so the beans are just submerged in liquid.
4. Bring it all the boil, then turn the heat down until barely simmering, put a lid on the pan and cook as slowly as possible, stirring from time to time and adding extra boiling water if necessary, for between 6 ½ and 9 hours, until the beans are tender.
5. You may need a heat diffuser to get the temperature low enough.
6. Add salt only when the beans are tender, not before, as it makes them stay tough.
7. When the beans are cooked to your satisfaction, turn up the heat a little and cook uncovered for a while to reduce the sauce, but only if necessary.
8. Serve the beans lukewarm , with a little extra olive oil drizzled over them, accompanied by some good, hot, crusty bread (or garlic bread), a crisp green side-salad and plenty of ice-cold retsina or rough red wine.

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