Pulses, or legumes, are delicious fleshy vegetable seeds we obtain from the Fabacea family and they can be found widely around the world as part of many well-loved recipes. For Mexico, beans are the most popular legume and are consumed in soups, fried and a more tender version known as “ejotes”. I can assure you that a Mexican can consume beans at every meal of the day. On the other hand, in places like Asia beans are used to make sweets. Other valued legumes are: the delicious chickpea, popular in the Middle East and the main ingredient in hummus, and lentils that can be used to make delicious soups and broths. It is these leguminous soups are the basis of why I decided to write these recipes.
Legumes are a very interesting plant known for their excellent sources of vegetable protein, fibre, carbohydrates and minerals. These may vary depending on the species or variety of legume, and so we can pick and choose according to our needs which ones to serve in our meals.
I hope you will enjoy preparing these fantastic vegetables and in these recipes you find something perhaps you had never thought of trying before. Even at this time, cold draughts are still slipping through our windows and doors, so a comforting broth will be a welcome treat on any table.
Please share your favorite legume and how you like to prepare it – you can write your questions and suggestions below.
- 1 cup of lentils
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 serrano chilli.
- 1 clove of garlic.
- ½ an onion.
- 100 g of bacon.
- 1 banana.
- Salt to taste.
1. Cover the lentils with 1 ½ litres of water, a little salt and a garlic clove. Cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes, or until they become soft and their volume increases.
2. Finely chop the onion, serrano chile and tomatoes.
3. Chop the bacon and fry in a pan. When you are near the end of cooking the bacon, add the onion, pepper and tomato, saute onions until they are translucent in colour.
4. Mix the lentils with the fried vegetables and cook for 15 minutes or until all flavors are incorporated. You can adjust the flavour of the recipe with a little salt.
5. Serve the soup with a little chopped banana.
Beef stew with chickpeas and green beans
- 1 ½ cup of chickpeas
- 1 cup of green beans
- ½ kg beef shank (or any part that has bone)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 courgettes (zucchini)
- 3 carrots
- ½ a cabbage
- 2 pieces of corn
- salt (to taste)
1. Leave the beans in salted water to soak for 8 hours.
2. Cook the beef in a pressure cooker with the bay leaf, garlic and salt to taste. Cover with two litres of water. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the pot begins to let out steam, or indeed until the meat has properly cooked and becomes tender.
3. Cover the beans with water and cook until they become soft.
4. Cut the carrots, courgette (zucchini) and green beans into small pieces and chop the cabbage.
5. Add the carrots, zucchini, cabbage, green beans and corn, cooking with the broth over a medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to turn soft.
6. Finally, add the chickpeas. Stir in and serve hot.
7. You can add other vegetables the recipe for a different mix or flavour.
Creamy Bean Soup
- 1 cup. of cocino beans (use the variety you like best)
- 1 cup of water.
- 1 cup of sour cream
- ¼ tsp. Cumin
- 100 g Manchego cheese
- 4 tbsp. chopped coriander (cilantro)
- ¼ of a white onion.
- 3 tortilla wraps
- salt (to taste)
- Vegetable oil
1. Blend the beans with water, cumin and cream. Add salt to taste.
2. In a saucepan, add a little oil and the drained, liquefied beans. Cook for 10 minutes modifying the taste with salt if necessary.
3. Cut the tortillas into strips and pan fry them with a little oil until they are crunchy.
4. Chop the onion finely and grate the cheese.
5. Serve the soup hot and add the tortilla chips, onion, coriander (cilantro) and grated cheese. You can also add chipotle sauce for a spicy touch in your soup.
6. Similarly, if corn tortillas are difficult or costly to obtain for you, use croutons or brown your own bread to add it to the soup.
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