White Beans, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Stew

My local fruit and veg stall (on Chiswick High Road) have a £1 table and they often sell bowls of wonky, different sized pointed Romano red peppers which I can never resist. I buy them, plonk them in the bottom of the salad drawer and decide what to do with them later. Usually I roast them and they end up in purees, instant soups, sauces and salads, lovely on toast with white cheese and black olives. I rub away the skin, split them and discard the seeds then box them up for the fridge. Three went into what became a quick dish with handsful of cherry tomatoes roasted too, or quickly grilled, adding stock and masses of basil. Delicious on its own, eaten hot, warm or cold, it would go with barbecued food, with simply cooked fish or chicken but I served it with grilled sausages.

Serves 4

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 25 min

3 Romano red peppers

25 cherry tomatoes

1 onion

1 tbsp olive oil

700g jar Navarrico haricot beans

150ml chicken stock

generous handful of basil

     Roast the peppers at 200C/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes by which time the skin will have puffed and begun to blacken. Add the tomatoes, piercing each with the point of a small sharp knife to avoid bursting. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the peppers to a plate, cover with a stretch of clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes. If the tomatoes aren’t nicely squishy, leave them in the fading heat of the oven with the door open. Otherwise just leave sitting in the tin. Meanwhile, halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Soften gently in 1 tbsp olive oil with a pinch of salt in a spacious lidded pan, stirring often so it cooks evenly without crisping. Allow at least 10 minutes possibly longer; it must be soft and slippery. Stir in the beans, adding the stock. Bring slowly to simmer. By now the peppers will be done. Lift away the skin, split lengthways and swipe away the seeds. Slice into small pieces and stir into the beans with the tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Shred the basil and fold in just before serving.