Tag: butter beans

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Butter Beans and Mint

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

Five tasty C’s: coriander seeds, cumin, curcuma longa (turmeric), cardamom and cayenne pepper! The list of spices for my roast chicken legs is long but each single one adds its strong character to the aromatic result. I mixed a generous amount of their fragrant qualities into a golden marinade made of olive oil and lemon juice to let them infuse the chicken’s sizzling skin while cooking in the oven. The air in the kitchen smelled just wonderful and so did the meat when I put the tray onto the table. I also cooked some slices of lemon and butter beans in the spiced oil, the legumes skin burst and their velvety, soft inside mixed with the juices. It literally asked to be soaked with fresh ciabatta bread!

My mother often makes chicken legs in larger quantities when she has many people staying at her house, when my cousins visit to help her in the garden, or when her grandchildren visit and she isn’t up for an extensive dinner. I completely understand why, this dish is the ultimate comfort food, it’s easy to prepare (all you have to do is put the chicken legs on a tray and cook them in the oven) and you can easily customize the recipe. In late summer I cooked chicken legs with Moscato wine, grapes and thyme and in spring I glazed the skin with honey and roasted the meat with carrots and sage. You could also adjust my chicken with spiced peaches and work with the legs instead of the whole bird and enjoy the fruit’s sweetness together with the tender poultry. There are so many options! Sometimes my mother just cooks it with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, plain and simple. Just the idea of sitting in her garden eating the chicken leg with my fingers makes my mouth water!

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

 

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Butter Beans and Mint

For 2-4 people you need

chicken legs 4
canned butter beans, rinsed and drained, 250g / 9 ounces (double the amount for 4 people)
coriander seeds, crushed in a mortar, 1 teaspoon
ground cumin 1 teaspoon
ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon
ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon
cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, 1/4 teaspoon
lemon, cut into thin slices, 1, plus 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
olive oil
coarse sea salt
fresh mint leaves, a small handful, to serve

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (I use the Rotitherm setting which works perfectly for poultry).

Whisk 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the lemon juice and spices. Arrange the chicken legs in a baking dish, rub them on all sides with the spiced oil and sprinkle the skin generously with sea salt. Mix the beans with a splash of olive oil and arrange them around the meat. Put the slices of lemon on top and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Pour some of the juices over the meat a couple times while it’s cooking. Check the meat with a skewer, only clear juices should come out when it’s done. If you like, turn the grill on for a few minutes until the skin starts sizzling. Serve with fresh mint and ciabatta bread.

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

 

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

 

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

 

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

It’s time for soup! The colder it gets the more I feel like food that is up-lefting and soul-warming. Something that makes me feel strong and prepares me for the cold, dark months ahead of me. Although I love winter, the snow, even the cold, when you get cosy inside, slow down and relax, it’s important to treat yourself to the right food to renew your body and mind.

I’m in the mood for a thick soup, smooth but light – like my Minestrone with big butter beans and fennel with some parsley and black olives sprinkled on top. The texture is velvety and it tastes a bit sweet. Today I add a piece of bacon to it as I feel like something deeper in taste. Usually I cook the vegetarian version, I don’t prefer one over the other, both are nice winter treats!

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Keep in mind that you have to soak the dried beans in water overnight. I like to cook soups in bigger batches to store some in the freezer – great for busy days. This recipe is for 4 people, sometimes I even double the amount.

dried butter beans or Cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight, 250g / 9 ounces
fennel, rinsed, cut in thin slices, 300g / 10.5 ounces
celery stalk, cut in cubes, 1
onion, cut in cubes, 1
broth or water, around 1500 ml
optional: a piece of bacon, 40g / 1.5 ounces
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
bay leaf, 1
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying
parsley, chopped, for topping, 2 tablespoons
black olives, chopped, for topping, 4
good olive oil for topping

Heat some oil in a large pot. Fry the onion, celery, garlic and bacon (left in one piece) for a few minutes. Add the fennel, take the beans out of the water and put them into the pot as well. Fill with broth, add the bay leaf and close with a lid. Don’t season with salt before the beans are done or they won’t become soft. Cook for 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Depending on the bean’s texture it may take another 30 minutes. Mine needed 60 minutes today but I must admit that I found them in a dark corner of my shelf.

When the beans are done, take out half of the vegetables (cooked beans and fennel) and put them to the side. Mix the other half of the vegetables together with the liquid in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Put everything back into the pot together with the remaining vegetables. When you arrange the soup in soup bowls sprinkle with olives and parsley and drizzle your best olive oil on top.