runner bean confessions


ok, i need to ‘fess up – until this week i’ve never cooked runner beans. somehow that confession makes me feel more than a little embarrassed so no laughing in the back row, all us foodies have our embarrassing little secrets!

i don’t know why runner beans created such a mental block for me. perhaps never eating them as a child and only ever encountering it in restaurants was to blame. although, having said that i’ve always been perfectly happy to use other types of beans.

however, the gift of some runner beans from a generous gardener friend meant i had to tackle my fears. i turned to hugh fearnley-whittingstall for this recipe which prepares runner beans according to a traditional french method.

they were delicious! a gentle garlic flavour which contrasted with the green beany flavour. i’m no longer scared and will be adding this bean/garlic combination to my existing favourite green beans with a shallot and garlic vinaigrette.

this is my contribution to grow your own (or in my case, get someone else to grow it for you!) which andrea, from andrea's recipes has organised to celebrate the bounty of the summer garden.


runner beans stewed with garlic (serves 4 as a side dish)

500g runner beans

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

25g butter

salt and freshly ground black pepper

use a potato peeler to remove the strings from the edges of the beans, then chop the beans into small pieces on the diagonal. put them in a large pan with the garlic and butter and 2-3 tablespoons of water. bring to a simmer, stirring to distribute the melting butter and garlic over the beans. cover the pan, put on a very low heat, and leave to stew gently for 20-30 minutes, until the beans are tender. stir every now and then, and add a splash of water if the beans look like they’re catching on the bottom. season well and serve hot or warm.

we ate these with my mustardy mackerel fishcakes.