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Escalloped Runner Beans and Potatoes




I was recently gifted with some really tasty looking runner beans.   I can remember my friend Jacquie telling me about these foot long green beans before I came over here to live in the UK.   I couldn't imagine a bean that long really, but she was right, they are that long, or even longer!  They're really quite easy to prepare for cooking.  You need to first take a sharp paring knife and strip away the stringy bit on the join at either side of each bean. If you are lucky enough to have one you can then feed them through a bean slicer.  If you don't have a bean slicer you can do the same thing with a sharp knife.  It will just take you a lot longer to do it!



 It doesn't work cutting them into cubes or diamonds.  If they're simply chopped into little diamond shapes, the skins take longer to cook than the insides and they end up being either grey and overcooked, or undercooked and tough.



 I cut mine by hand into long strips.  I didn't simply want to steam them however, I wanted to try to incorporate them into a tasty vegetable bake.   I looked online to see if I could find anything there . . . but everything I found used tomato sauce or tinned tomatoes.  That did not appeal to me in the least.

.

I wanted something rich and indulgent, and filling.   I will admit, I have gone a little bit off meat lately for some odd reason.  I am wanting vegetables and lots of them.  I have always enjoyed my veggies, and I love potatoes and so I decided to incorporate the beans into one of my all time favourite potato dishes . . . Escalloped Potatoes.  Layers of potato and onion cooked in milk until meltingly knife tender . . .the potatoes absorbing the milk for the most part, the rest becoming a butter sauce when the flour and butter you also layer with the potatoes melds together. 


A bit of cheese and seasoning and they get even tastier.   I thought adding a layer of runner beans and some leek (instead of onion) would result in a really delicious vegetable bake!   I was right.  This was fabulous.  Todd had his with some sliced turkey.  I enjoyed mine on their own with some sliced ripe tomatoes on the side and was as happy as happy could be! 


*Escalloped Runner Beans and Potatoes*
Serves 4
I came up with this delicious side dish when I was gifted with a nice bag of runner beans and was trying to figure out something tasty to do with them besides just boiling them. 


a package of runner beans
(about 10 or so of them.  If you don't have runner beans,
you could use a small packed of frozen french style beans)
1 medium leek
4 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Flour
240g of grated strong cheddar cheese (scant 2 cups)
Salt and pepper
Butter
cracker crumbs
Whole fat milk 

First prepare your runner beans.  De string them, then cut them into 3 inch lengths and slice them lengthwise into thin strips.   If you are lucky enough to have a runner bean slicer, you can use that.   Trim the dark green and root end from your leek.  Wash it carefully and cut it into thin rounds. 

Cook the runner beans in a pot of lightly salted water for about 6 minutes, adding the leeks for the last minute.  Drain all very well. 


Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter a 2 litre casserole dish very well.


Begin by layering in the bottom with a layer of the sliced potato and topping that with a layer of the bean and leek mix Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and flour and some of the grated cheese.  Repeat the layers until all the potatoes and runner bean mixture  are used up.  You should have a bit of cheese left to sprinkle on top of the final layer.  Top with crushed cracker crumbs and dot with butter.


Carefully pour the milk into the sides of the dish until you can just barely see the milk under the surface. You don’t want it to completely cover the potatoes. I use the tip of the knife to kind of lift the edges a bit as I am pouring it in. You want it to come up about ¾ of the way.


Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake until bubbly, the top is golden brown and the potatoes are tender (about half an hour longer).


Remove from the oven and let set a few minutes before serving.



I do hope you will give them a try and that you enjoy them as much as we did.   If you can't get runner beans, then feel free to use regular haricot verts, or string beans.  The taste difference would be negligible if there was any at all.  Bpn Appetit!
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Marie Rayner
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2 comments:

  1. What a yummy side dish, Maria. It looks terrific! Thanks!

    Jane x

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    1. Thanks Jane! We really enjoyed it. I love it when my experiments turn out as tasty as this did! xo

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