Helda Bean Fassoulakia with Potato and Pumpkin Rosti: Happy Valentine's Day!!

Helda beans are tender and flavoursome green beans from Spain; they grow very well in our allotment here in England in good summers too. As we still have not got through last year's bumper crop of pumpkins my husband suggested I make rosti with them. The result was an "European fusion" meal!
(Even the wonderful kitsch plate is from Greece!)
I first tried this many years ago, whilst working in Crete. The secret is to cook the beans long and slow in a minimum of liquid so that they come out braised and tender. The quantities here serve 6.
3 packets helda beans (or 2 of helda and one of fine beans)
a tin of chopped tomatoes (fresh cherry tomatoes would have been better, but I was in a hurry!)
extra-virgin olive oil
dried basil
salt, black pepper and hing
  • Put the prepared beans in a pan and gently cook in the olive oil for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add seasonings, a couple of tabs water, put the lid on the pan and turn the heat right down and cook until becoming tender
  • Stir in the chopped tomatoes and simmer very gently for a further 5-10 mins, or until beans are thoroughly cooked.
  • Adjust seasonings to suit your taste.
Use grated pumpkin and potato in the ratio 1:3, with salt, pepper, a little turmeric and a pinch or two of buckwheat flour. Shape into cakes and cook in an oven preheated to 200C on a well-oiled baking tray, turning from time to time. After the final turning, top with a little grated cheese if desired.
PS: If this is for a Valentine's meal, why not make the rosti heart-shaped?!


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