Cupboard love: Mark Hix cooks with pulses

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Want to conjure up healthy, heartwarming dishes? Then have a rummage in your larder for those unused pulses, suggests our man in the kitchen.

At this time of year, when the weather is cold and the season's festivities have taken their toll, it makes sense to introduce a few pulses into your suppers. January is the ideal time to clear out your larders or cupboards; you never quite know how long some of those packets have been lurking at the back of those shelves and drawers. Here, then, are some simple pulse-orientated recipes that are hearty and delicious and will give your New Year a kick-start.

Chickpea and coconut curry

Serves 4-6

The combination of the chickpeas, spices and coconut make this a great vegetarian main course – or you could serve it as a starter or side dish.

200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
Salt
½tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the curry

4tbsp vegetable or corn oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 green chillies, trimmed and finely chopped
3 medium onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
3cm piece of cinnamon stick
2 cloves
The seeds from 6 cardamom pods
12 or so fennel seeds
1tbsp freshly-grated turmeric or ½tsp powder
2tsp mustard seeds
1tsp fenugreek seeds
1tsp ground coriander
½tsp garam masala
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
200ml coconut milk
4-5tbsp chopped coriander

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then place them in a saucepan with a teaspoon of salt and the bicarbonate of soda and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about an hour, or until they are tender, then drain.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the garlic, chilli, onions and all of the dried spices and cook on a low heat for about 6-7 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, about 600-700ml water and the chickpeas. Add a couple of good pinches of salt, bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is just coating the chick peas. Add the coconut milk and continue simmering for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the coriander. Season to taste and serve.

Cotechino with mixed pulses and mustard fruits

Serves 4

Cotechino is a kind of cooked salami, available from most good Italian delis and traditionally served with braised lentils or beans. Those little, quick-cooking, mixed pulses are a great larder stand-by for soups and this kind of dish.

Mustard fruits (aka mostarda) are available in Italian delis and good supermarkets and really give the dish a good kick, cutting through the fattiness of the sausage.

450-500g cotechino
A couple of good knobs of butter
2 shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ½cm dice
1 stick of celery, peeled if stringy and cut into ½cm dice
80g small Italian soup pulses, soaked for 2 hours
300-400ml beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few pieces of mixed mustard fruits, sliced or cut into small chunks

First, make the sauce: heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the shallots and garlic for a minute.

Add the carrots, celery and drained pulses and 300ml of the stock; season, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the pulses are tender and the stock has reduced and just coating the pulses. You may need to add some more stock during cooking. Cover and keep warm.

To serve, heat the cotechino in water or stock for 10-15 minutes, remove and cut into 2cm-thick slices or thinner if you wish.

Spoon the pulses on to warmed serving plates or bowls, place the cotechino on top and scatter the mustard fruits on top.

A kind of British cassoulet

Serves 4-6

50g lard or 3tbsp vegetable oil
750g neck of pork fillet, cut into rough 3cm cubes
140-200g whole piece of streaky bacon, cut into 2cm chunks
1½tbsp flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp tomato purée
3-4 good-quality sausages, lightly grilled
200g dried carling peas (maple peas) soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
Salt
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
A few sprigs of thyme
2 ltrs beef or chicken stock

For the topping

30-40g fresh white breadcrumbs
20-30g pork crackling, crushed up

Drain and rinse the carling peas, place them in a saucepan with the salt, the bicarbonate of soda and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about an hour, or until they are tender, then drain.

Heat the lard or oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Season the pork neck with salt and pepper, lightly flour and fry quickly on a high heat until nicely coloured all over. Remove the pieces of pork and place on a plate. Fry the pieces of bacon on a high heat until coloured and transfer to the plate with the pork.

Add the onions, garlic and thyme to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until they soften, then transfer to a heavy-based saucepan. Add the rest of the flour and tomato purée and stir well, then gradually stir in or whisk in the beef stock. Add the drained peas, pork neck and bacon, season lightly and simmer for 40 minutes, skimming and reserving the fat in a pot. Add the sausages and continue simmering for another 15 minutes or so, or until the pork is tender and the sauce has thickened and coated the meats.

Mix the breadcrumbs, pork crackling and a little of the skimmed fat together, transfer the meats and sauce to an ovenproof dish, scatter the breadcrumb mixture on top and lightly brown under a medium grill or in a moderate oven.

Chicken supreme with butter beans

Serves 4

When I was a kid, our neighbour used to invite us in for lunch occasionally and she would serve us chicken supreme with butter beans – which was basically a can of Marks and Spencer's chicken in white sauce; I think she used to just throw in a can of butter beans too! I remembered it the other day and thought I would give it a bit of a makeover.

150g good-quality butter beans, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
8 large or 12 medium free-range chicken thighs, skinned and boned
1.5ltrs chicken stock
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick of celery, peeled if stringy and finely chopped
1 small bayleaf
A couple of sprigs of thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
60g butter
50g plain flour
3-4tbsp double cream
3tbsp chopped parsley

Rinse the butter beans and transfer them to a saucepan with the bicarbonate of soda and a couple of teaspoons of salt. Cover well with water, bring to the boil and simmer gently with a lid on for about an hour, or until they are tender.

Put the chicken thighs in a saucepan with the stock, onions, celery, bayleaf and thyme, season, bring to the boil; then simmer very gently for 1 hour, skimming every so often. Remove the thighs and put to one side.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour and stir on the heat for 30 seconds. Whisk the flour mixture into the stock and continue simmering gently for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Cut the chicken thighs into 4, then add to the sauce with the butter beans and continue simmering for about 5 minutes until the sauce just coats the chicken and beans. Add the cream and parsley and season to taste.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Service Charge Accountant

    30,000 to 35,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: We are currently recruiting on...

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence