Friday, 23 August 2013

Haricot Beans for Babies, Toddlers and the Whole Family

Haricot beans are the basic staple carbohydrate of some of France.  The great thing about them in comparison with potatoes is pulses can count as one of your five a day.  Although they aren't mass packed full of vitamins, they are a decent source of fibre and protein.

For babies, exclude the seasoning and use salt free or low salt stock.  This would be great for babies on soft lumps or you could mash or puree them for younger babies.  Don't miss out the garlic though.  Some babies might reject something so garlicky but if you don't try it, you won't know.  You could always tone it down a little if you like.

For adults, toddlers and older children, this is a great side dish for sausages; think of it like a deconstructed cassoulet.  For adults certainly, some seasoning would be welcome, salt seems to bring out the flavour of the garlic.

By using dried haricot beans, this is a super cheap dish.

Don't miss out the overnight soaking or boiling stage, it's important for food safety.




Garlicky Haricot Beans - Serves 2 adults and 1 older toddler

Ingredients

100g, scant 3oz Dried haricot (navy) beans
1/2 onion
1 carrot
1 tsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic (use fewer if liked)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Parsley stalks (optional)
500-600ml, approx 1 pint boiling water or salt free stock
Stock cube (optional)

Method

Soak the beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight.

Once the beans are soaked, drain and put in freshly boiled water.  Bring to the boil and boil for 15 minutes.

While the beans are boiling, finely dice the onion and carrot and finely chop the garlic.

Gently fry the onion and carrot for a few minutes.  When they start to soften, add the garlic and fry gently.  If liked, chop up the parsley stalks finely and add at this stage.

When the beans have boiled, drain and add to the onion mix with approx 500-600ml (approx 1 pint) of fresh boiling water or stock (stock does improve the flavour).  Simmer for approx 45 minutes or until the beans are cooked and the stock reduced to a small amount of liquid.  Boil hard to reduce if too much liquid remains or add boiling water if there's not enough during the cooking process.

If you used water, you could add a stock cube at this point.  Use low salt for babies (or miss out).  Don't add at the start of cooking as the salt can toughen the skins of the beans.

To finish, stir through the chopped parsley, take out any portions for children and season to taste for adults.  Serve with sausages or roasted meats.

Reheat well.

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