The name of this dish does so not convey just how tasty it is. Even Dave really likes it, which is a minor miracle for a dish that’s more soup than stew and mostly consists of beans and spinach.
It’s one of the simplest things you can make, with just a handful of ingredients, and it’s really cheap, too. One thing you might be tempted to do is reduce the olive oil to lower the fat, but please don’t do this. You really, really need the oil for the taste to be right, it’s really not that much and it’s actually a very healthy dish overall. I only added a half tablespoon to the top of each bowl this time but I think it;s better with more, which I’ve reflected in the recipe below.
As for side dishes, you need some nice, preferably homemade, bread to mop up all the juices (the crusty bread I made a few weeks ago would have been fantastic – recipe here) and you could also have some kind of salad on the side. I served with a green salad but to be honest there were too many greens going on, what with the spinach in the stew, so a tomato-based salad or a proper Greek salad with feta would be better.
Though I had this first of all in a Greek restaurant, Madhur Jaffrey lists a very similar recipe as being from Cyprus in her World Vegetarian. I used her recipe as a starting point when I tried to recreate the dish myself, but made a few changes, adding onion, using tinned beans and using spinach rather than Swiss chard.
Black-eye Beans with Spinach (serves 2) 68p per portion
- 1 tin black-eye beans, drained and rinsed, or the equivalent amount of cooked dried beans 25p
- 150g spinach, washed 68p
- 2 small onions, sliced into half moons 6p
- vegetable stock, to cover 5p
- juice of 1/2 lemon 13p
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 18p
Gently heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan, and add the onion slices. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes, until softened and starting to turn golden at the edges. Try not to burn the onions, as you don’t want them to taste bitter.
Well cover with hot vegetable stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are well-cooked. Add the spinach and beans and cook for a few minutes until everything is heated through and the spinach has completely wilted. Take from the heat, add the lemon juice and serve in wide bowls. Drizzle 1/2 or 1 tbsp of olive oil over the top of each bowl, and serve with breads and a tomato or feta salad.
Cost – £1.35 or 68p per person. Served with two slices homemade bread each (around 10p per person) and a side salad (23p each for the salad leaves, 3p each for the olive oil and 1p for the balsamic vinegar), so £1.05 for the whole meal.