Whipped butter beans with chilli and coriander

Serves 4-6

I'm a big fan of butter beans, but they do vary in quality, so try to buy the best-quality ones that you can find rather than the cheap ones. You could use the canned version but I think that you get a much better result if you use the dried variety.

150g dried butter beans, soaked in plenty of cold water for 10-12 hours
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
About 1ltr vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
120ml extra virgin olive oil
The juice of half a lemon
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2tbsp coriander, chopped
Flatbread, to serve

Put the butter beans in a pan with the garlic, bicarbonate of soda and vegetable stock, season, bring to the boil and simmer very gently with a lid on for about 40-50 minutes or until tender and topping up with water if necessary. Drain in a colander, reserving the stock. Keep aside about 20 or so butter beans and put them in a bowl with the chilli, coriander and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil; season to taste.

Blend the rest of the beans in a liquidiser, with enough of the stock to help blend the beans, and trickle the rest of the olive oil in until it is well blended; then season and add the lemon juice to taste. Serve at room temperature spooned on to a large plate or individual serving plates, with the beans placed on top.

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