Every Sunday morning when I enter the supermarket, list in one hand, trolley in the other, I am in my element. I’m one of those people that likes to take their time and pick the best fruit and veg the shop has to offer. But I will hold my hands up, I am not the most adventurous when it comes to vegetables.
However, as a way to try and encourage myself to eat a variety of vegetables, every week as part of the shopping list I write “one other vegetable”. This is like I’m trying to trick myself into thinking I am wild and living life on the edge going for more exotic varieties of vegetable, when in reality I almost always choose the same ones.
So, it’s a Sunday which means I’m also shopping for my Sunday roast. For those of you that aren’t from England, this is a typical lunch/dinner meal we eat most Sundays that consists of some form of roasted meat, roast potatoes, vegetables, yorkshire pudding and enough gravy that you can’t taste anything else. It’s a staple of British culture. Anyway, I would typically choose carrots, broccoli and green beans for a roast, a combination of colours and flavours that fill the plate well. That’s until I discovered runner beans.
My Introduction to the Runner Bean
When I was in Primary school and we would be educated on fruit and vegetables, we’d often learn about runner beans because they are commonly grown in the UK. However, somewhere along the way to adulthood I completely forgot about them, so have most people it seems and they are usually the last ones left in the vegetable aisle. I do understand why they have taken a step back from the limelight, there are so many other variations of bean that it can be hard to remember them all, plus, when in their full form they can look a little overwhelming.
But let me tell you they are definitely worth that extra bit of preparation. Or, if you are a self-accepting lazy cook, buy the stringless variations that come in supermarkets pre-prepared. The thing is, I prefer them over varieties of beans because of their texture. This could divide a few people, but crunchy vegetables aren’t my thing. Other vegetables such as green beans, edamame beans and even mangetout always have this hard, brittle texture that just doesn’t settle well with me. However, with runner beans, they’re soft and the beans inside are almost creamy.
Back to that Sunday roast. I’ve been shopping, everything is in the oven close to finishing, the roast chicken has been left to rest, now what do I do? Cook the runners. If you have the full runner bean, you’ll want to chop the ends, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the strings at the sides before chopping. A quick 5-10 minutes boiling and they’re good to go. But if I were you, once drained and plated, add a dollop of salted butter to the beans and allow to soak. Then each bite will be oozing with salty goodness and you won’t even realise you’re still getting one of your five a day.