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Spanish Beans

  • 6 as a tapas or nibble
Spanish Beans

Tapas take on all kinds of forms in Spain ranging from toasted almonds and marinated olives to more substantial dishes using beans. For me these beans make an out of the ordinary starter or nibble, so much more interesting than the ubiquitous hummus and cheese platter, so served with low fat rice crackers to make us feel better for indulging in the often served triple-cream cheese to begin with! With these Spanish beans, add warm crusty bread, a chilled glass of Sherry (be really plucky and buy something nice like Lustau) and leave your guests to dive. Alternatively have these beans with grilled bacon and salad for a main course.


  • 1 cup haricot beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 100 grams finely sliced pancetta
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or piment d’ espelette
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry, Amontillado is ideal here
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock


  1. Soak the beans overnight. Drain them in a saucepan with half the onion and garlic plus the bouquet garni and water and simmer for 40-50 minutes until the beans are tender.
  2. Pan-fry the remaining onion in a dash of oil until it starts to colour. Add the sliced pancetta or bacon and cook until crisp.
  3. Add the green pepper, half the tomato puree and paprika and cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomato puree has browned.
  4. Drain the cooked beans discarding the bouquet garni and dried oregano and gently stir the beans through the sauce. Add the remaining tomato puree, sherry and stock. Season with black pepper. Serve warm with slices of fresh tomato, sliced bread and chilled sherry.

Cooks Tips

Bouquet Garni Prepare a bouquet garni from a bayleaf, few sprigs thyme and parsley stems. Tie them together and remove before serving.

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