Cooking pulses

By : | 0 Comments | On : September 6, 2016 | Category : Cooking, pulses, top

Cooking Pulses

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 12.36.01Pulses include all beans, peas and lentils. All of these ingredients can be purchased dried or canned and are excellent store cupboard standbys.
Most lentils don’t have to be soaked and can be used straightaway in whatever dish you are making. Beans and peas usually have to be soaked. Some beans, like red kidney beans must also be boiled for at least 20 minutes after soaking before you use them because they contain a toxic ingredient which is destroyed during cooking. Read the instructions on the packets if you are unsure.

Lentil and Bacon Soup

This makes a substantial starter soup or a lunchtime treat served with crusty bread.

Serves 4
5 tbsp lentils
4 rashers back bacon
2 rashers streaky bacon
1 medium-sized onion, chopped finely
2 carrots, chopped
½ tsp celery salt
1 dessertspoon tomato purée
1 clove garlic, chopped
1.5 litres vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1 Fry the bacon in the oil until cooked and add the onion, garlic and carrot. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
2 Stir in the tomato purée and celery salt.
3 Gradually add the stock and then stir in the lentils.
4 Bring to the boil, stirring continuously as the lentils can rest on the bottom of the pan and stick.
5 Turn down the heat to simmering and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6 Test for seasoning, black pepper really enhances the flavour of this soup.

Serve immediately or store in the fridge for 2–3 days. This freezes for up to two months.

Pea and Bacon Soup

This recipe was originally called ‘London Particular’ and was linked to the pea-souper dense fogs that lingered over London during the winter months. But as horrific as the fog could be, the soup was heartening and wholesome.

It would originally have been made with cured hock of pork or pig’s trotters. This is an easier, but just as tasty, recipe.

Remember, when you plan to make this soup, soak your dried peas the night before in cold water. This does give the best results when using dried peas or beans as they cook more evenly and in less time.

Serves 6
200g dried green peas
200g dried split yellow peas
6 large rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 litres stock (ham, chicken or vegetable)
½ level tsp celery salt
Salt and pepper to taste

1 Fry the bacon in the oil for 3 minutes then add the onion, cook over a medium heat until the bacon is cooked and the onions are soft. This will take about 10 minutes.
2 Add the carrot, and sprinkle over the celery salt.
3 Drain the soaking peas and add them to the bacon and vegetables.
4 Pour in the stock and stir. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until the peas are tender.
5 This may be partially blended until smooth.

Serve topped with some crispy bacon pieces.

Butter-bean Pâté

This is a quick and easy pâté for lunch, or as a starter it is particularly good for vegetarians.

Serves 4
1 x 425g can of butter-beans, drained
Juice of ½ lemon
1 clove garlic, grated
1 rounded tsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

1 Put the beans and lemon juice in a food processor and blend for about 10 seconds then add the other ingredients and continue to blend until a smooth paste is formed. You can do this with a masher and a fork, but it won’t be as smooth.
2 Put the pâté into small ramekin dishes and serve with bread or Melba toast.

Pork with Beans

This is a very satisfying meal to eat on a cold day. It can be cooked and reheated easily enough when you wish to eat it. Make sure it is piping hot before you serve it.

Serves 6
450g dried haricot beans, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight
2 tbsp sunflower oil
500g pork steak, cut into cubes
2 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ level tsp dried oregano
½ level tsp dried thyme
1 level dessertspoon brown sugar
500ml stock, beef or vegetable
Salt and pepper to taste

1 Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F, Gas 3).
2 Drain the beans of the steeping water and boil in fresh water for 10 minutes.
3 Fry the pork and bacon in the oil until it changes colour, and place in a lidded casserole.
4 When the beans are ready, drain them and stir into the pork mixture.
5 Heat the stock in the frying pan and add the garlic, herbs, sugar and can of tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces as they heat in the stock or do this separately before adding to the pan. Bring everything to the boil then pour it over the meat and bean mixture, and season to taste.
6 Cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 3 hours. Stir and cook for another 40–50 minutes.

This is good served with baked potatoes or boiled rice.

Turkey Chilli

This is not only a tasty dish it is also very economical.

Serves 4–6
500g minced turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 courgette, diced
1 stick celery, chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 x 400g can tomatoes or 1 x 500ml carton passata
120ml red wine
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 x 400g can red kidney beans
50g red lentils
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

1 Fry the onions in the oil for a few minutes then add the celery and courgette.
2 Stir in the tomato purée and add the meat. Cook gently until the meat has changed colour. If your pan isn’t large enough to continue cooking the chilli then transfer it to a saucepan.
3 Add the chilli flakes, red wine and garlic, then stir in the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to simmering and stir in the red lentils. Season with salt to taste.
4 Cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Stir in the drained kidney beans and cook for 10 more minutes.
5 After the cooking, leave to settle for a few minutes before serving. If you can, allow the chilli to cool for 2 hours before heating back up to piping hot and serving with boiled rice, baked potatoes or crusty bread. This allows all the flavours of the chilli to develop and it tastes much better.

Pulses make excellent salad and dips, and can be made very quickly and easily, here are two of my favourites.

Mexican Salad

This has a real kick to it and is great served with chicken or burgers.

150g whole wheat pasta
½ chopped red pepper
½ chopped green pepper
4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Small can red kidney beans, drained well
Crème fraiche to serve

1 Cook the pasta as before and combine with all the ingredients.
2 Transfer to a serving dish and serve with crème fraiche.

This is really good as an accompaniment to prawn fishcakes or egg and ham pie.

You can hot it up with a few slivers of a hotter chilli, if you dare.


This is a quick and easy dip, and tastes much better when it is home-made.

175g chickpeas soaked in cold water overnight
2 chopped garlic cloves
75ml or 5 tbsp tahini paste
40–50ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed if possible
60ml mild olive oil
Salt to taste

1 After soaking, pour enough boiling water to cover and simmer for 2–2 ½ hours.
2 Drain well and purée along with the chopped garlic, either in a food processor or mashing and pushing together.
3 Add the tahini paste and lemon juice, and mix well.
4 Add the olive oil gradually whilst mixing well.

Serve with fingers of pitta bread and olives.

Cooking with pulsesSome people love them but pigeons eat twice their own weight of food each day and there’s not a lot you can do about it.Cooking with pulses
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