With a lot of vegetables, the philosophy is the fresher, the better. While that can certainly be the case, especially in summer, cooking some vegetables for longer brings out a different characteristic. I used to religiously cook spinach until just wilted, so that the leaves were still bright and there was a crunch to the stem. But that isn’t the spinach I grew up with – or the one I’ve resurrected in today’s recipe. When it’s cooked for longer, spinach takes on a dark emerald colour, and becomes soft, sweet and as comforting as the butter beans with which it shares this pot.
Spinach and butter bean stew with toasted pine nuts
It’s worth toasting the pine nuts because it intensifies their nutty flavour and makes them crunchier.
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil30g (3 tbsp) pine nuts1 onion, peeled and chopped4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced1½ tsp ground allspice1 tbsp ground coriander2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained500ml vegetable stock, suitable for vegans400g baby leaf spinach¾ tsp fine sea salt1–1½ tbsp lemon juice (ie, from ½ lemon)Steamed or boiled rice, to serve
In a large casserole or saucepan, heat a tablespoon of the oil over a medium heat and, once hot, add the pine nuts…