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Blue pea and beetroot puree

Blue pea and beetroot puree

Ingredients

for the cooked peas

100g dried blue peas
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2g (1/2) tsp fine salt

for the puree

50g freshly squeezed lemon juice
70g cooked beetroot
230g cooked blue peas (from above), or tinned beans
80g water
5g (1 tsp) fine salt
100g tahini
30g sunflower oil

ground black pepper, salt, and extra lemon juice to taste
olive oil to finish
ground sumac and mint leaves to serve

This is essentially a great delicious hummus (though the word hummus strictly means chick pea), reminiscent of the flavoured varieties I’ve eaten in Beirut. Here I’ve used beetroot but I’ve also tasted it with pumpkin, sweet potato, and even one made with sorrel-like leaves known as fresh Lebanese Za’atar (the same name but different to the popular dry seed mixture). The beetroot turns it bright pink, and adds a rich complex flavour.

The bean and grain company Hodmedods supply us with these delicious dried whole blue peas, that need to be soaked overnight to swell and soften but then cook very quickly. You can used tinned beans here instead, and skip the soaking and cooking: black-eye peas give a great flavour too.

As the tahini adds a slight bitterness I’ve found that mixing the puree with sunflower oil avoids increasing that flavour, better to drizzle it with your best BakeryBits olive oil at the end

Serves 4-5

Method

For the blue peas: the night before, cover the peas in water to about twice their volume, and stir in the bicarbonate and salt: this will help the peas soften quickly when cooked. Leave on the worktop overnight. The following day pour everything into a small saucepan, cover with more water to about twice their “swelled” volume, then bring to the boil. Now do watch: the peas will kick off some foam as they reach boiling point and this might cause the water to boil over. If you reduce the heat just before boiling, stir the peas well, then simmer for 5 minutes the foam should dissipate. The you can raise the temperature and cook for about 40-60 minutes or until almost softened (a little firmness is ok). Then drain well.

To make the puree: put the lemon juice and beetroot in a bowl with a stick blender, or a stand blender and mix until smooth. Add the drained warm blue peas (or tinned peas/beans, drained and warm) and water then blend again until very smooth. Tip the puree into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and tahini (if the tahini is solid just mash it with a fork on a plate before adding), and stir well. The tahini will make it thicken. Then beat in the oil.

Finally adjust the flavour to taste: add ground black pepper, salt and lemon juice if liked, and even a little mashed raw garlic is good.

Spoon into a bowl, swirl the top and pour on a little olive oil. Sprinkle with sumac, or more black pepper, and mint or parsley leaves to serve.