Beans are like octopus – they need to be cooked either very fast or very slow.
I love snake beans cooked in an Asian way – just barely blanched, so they are still crunchy and tossed in a dressing. But these purple king beans have such a nice deep flavour, I think they go better cooked long and slow in the Mediterranean way, specially this time of year when not only the beans but all the other ingredients are in season too.
We ate these just as is for Saturday lunch with toast and feta cheese on the side. But they also go fabulously well as a side dish for a roast (and take a similar amount of time to cook).
In a heavy bottomed pot with a lid, simmer together on a low heat for an hour or more:
- 400 grams of green beans, preferably a strong flavoured variety like Purple King
- a swig of good olive oil
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- a leek, chopped into 3 cm slices
- 12 black olives, deseeded and roughly chopped
- a good tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano
- 700 grams of chopped ripe tomatoes (or a can of tomatoes)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups of water
Towards the end watch the liquid level and add more water if it looks like it might burn.