PERSIAN SPINACH, LEEK & RED KIDNEY BEANS
27 January 2009
THE FARMERS MARKET:
I make a habit of buying my veggies at the Saturday farmers market in central Geneva (8am-1pm Rive). Even during the winter, I bundle up and brave the cold weather, as their garden produce really is worth the extra effort, plus I like to support the local farmers. While the variety is less impressive than in the summer months , there is still an excellent choice of winter veggies to be had:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Lettuce (certain types)
- Leeks (used in this recipe)
- Onions (used in this recipe)
- Spinach (used in this recipe)
(see The Westside Gardener for winter vegetable gardening)
Farmers Market shopping 101:
- Plan recipes for the week, it’s economical & a fun to find the ingredients in the market. This also avoids over stocking of the fridge – I hate throwing food away & the freezer has a limited capacity.
- Make a list, as if you are like me, the sight of all that wonderful fresh produce makes you want to buy everything in sight.
- Bring a basket, you’ll look like a local & won’t end up with 15 flimsy plastic bags
- Walk around before buying, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the stalls
- Check your prices, as often stalls closest to the ends of the market are more expensive
- Watch out for impostors – just because it’s a farmers market doesn’t mean everything is ’in season’, local and biologically grown
So this past weekend I went with my list of ingredients to make several dishes including this one for Persian spinach, leek & red kidney beans. The lemon & spices really makes all the difference in combining the vegetable flavours while adding delicious fragrant aromas. Another plus is that this is an economical recipe - good for the times we live in & for watching our grocery bills.
RECIPE – SWEET PEA Blog
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) dried red kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium white onion
- 3 small leeks (white, pale green part only)
- 500 grams fresh spinach
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 5 large strips lemon rind (use carrot peeler, then chop into fine strips)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I use freshly grated)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- Soak the beans in 2 cups cold water, over night or for 4-5 hours.
- Drain beans, rinse.
- Cook covered in water on medium/low heat until softened but still a little crunchy.
- Drain, rinse & set aside
Spinach / Leek / Onion preparation:
- Cut each leek in 1/2 lengthwise, wash well, chop into thin semi circles. Set aside.
- Wash spinach well (twice if needed) Remove stems. Cut into thick strips (1cm, 1/2 inch). Set aside.
- Finley chop onion. In an extra large skillet (frying pan) heat oil over medium/low heat & sweat onions.
- Add chopped leeks & cook, stirring often until wilted (5 minutes)
- Add chopped spinach, chopped parsley & water. Cover & cook till spinach is just wilted (5 minutes)
- Add kidney beans, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Stir gently. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
- Serve over Basmati rice (I make the rice without fried onions for this recipe)
NOTE: This dish is best served immediately. Do not over cook spinach & leeks or they will loose their bright colour. I used organic, unwaxed lemons for the rind.