Recipe and Styling Phillippa Cheifitz Photograph Jac de Villiers
500g dried butter beans
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
3T olive oil
1T coarse sea salt
2t chilli powder
1t crushed red chillies
2t ground cumin
1t ground coriander
2–3 ripe red tomatoes, skinned and chopped
for the coriander oil
a handful of coriander leaves, blanched, well drained and finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
pan-crisped pancetta slices
Soak the beans overnight. Alternatively, cover them with plenty of water and bring to a rolling boil.
Turn off the heat, cover and leave to soak for an hour. Drain the soaked beans and cover with fresh water.
Add a chopped onion, two crushed garlic cloves and the bay leaf. Don’t add salt, which will toughen the beans. Bring to a boil and allow to bubble for five minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer, adding more boiling water if necessary.
When the beans start to soften, stir in 1T olive oil. Cook until soft, then stir in 1T salt and cook for another 20 minutes or until very soft and the liquid has almost evaporated. Stir intermittently to prevent the beans from sticking.
Heat 2T olive oil in a wide pan. Add the remaining chopped onion and cook gently until very soft but not browned.
Stir in the spices and the remaining crushed garlic cloves. Add the tomatoes and cook for five to 10 minutes.
Stir in the beans and cook gently until hot.
Blend the coriander and olive oil.
Spoon the beans into bowls, add a little coriander oil, then place the crisped pancetta slices on top.
This recipe was originally published in the 2012 House and Leisure Food issue.