Beans as Thickner


As you might have read on my last post I got really excited about a 14th century recipe for bean thickened pancakes, maybe Aquafava thickened pancakes. I found a few other recipes that use beans for thickeners. The pancakes do not taste ‘beany’ and are fluffier than I thought they’d be.

We have the pancake recipe, but we also have a fritter, a stew and a tart. A good selection of cases where eggs are commonly used to thicken recipes.

One of the other thickeners I’ve learned about is blood. I might leave off doing that selection of recipe creations until Halloween.

Bean Pancakes
Take white chickpeas, well softened in water; boil them well, then take them out of the water, minced finely and mix them with said water, and strain them; and with this strained water dilute the flour as you like and fry it on a low fire with lard and oil, and put some honey on top.

Another preparation.  Dilute the flour with eggs, then make some gloves or other shape, as you like: set them to cook well in a pan with hot lard or oil.An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book

* 1 cup of dried chickpeas (or 5-6 eggs) (modern: 1.5 cups of aquafaba)
* 1 cup of chickpea flour
* 1/4-1/2 cup lard (or vegan shortening) for frying
* 1/4 cup of honey, to taste

1) One cup of dried chickpeas will grow to about 2 1/2 cups. Soften chickpeas in water overnight. Strain chickpeas and discard the soaking water. Bring chickpeas to boil in enough water to cover, then reduce to simmer for ~1 hour. Start checking the chickpea progress at about 35-40 minute. The chickpeas have to be soft.
2) Take cooked chickpeas and reserve cooking liquid. Chop up chickpeas roughly, removing loose skins as you go. Pour chickpea meat back into chickpea cooking water. Strain the chickpeas out using a strainer, this should take care of the rest of the chickpea skins and give you a nice chickpea milk. Strain the liquid through the chickpea mash a few times to try to get as much chickpea slurry as possible. This results in about 1/5 cups of liquid, and is very labour intensive.
3) Mix one cup of flour with ~1.5 cups of chickpea milk depending on what sort of consistency you want.
4) Heat your frying pan to medium. Fry batter in small batches in lard or bacon fat until both sides are golden brown.
5) Serve hot, covered in honey.

Bean Tart
Take the beans and cook them with pork belly, then paste the beans in a mortar and the belly with a knife (chop fine), then put the best spices that you may have and put in much cheese that it is half or less a third of the batter, and mix old lard and make the tart and it is most perfect. Libro di cucina / Libro per cuoco
* 2 cups fresh  fava beans, shelled (or 1 cup of dried fava beans softened)
* 1/2 cup pork belly, browned by frying
* 1 cup gouda cheese, grated
* ½ tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ginger
* salt & pepper to taste
* 1 tsp bacon fat
* 1 pie crust
1) Cover beans with water in a saucepan, add pork belly. Bring to boil and then reduce to a low simmer for 5 minutes, until beans are soft.
2) Once beans are soft strain and remove whats left of the pork belly. Chop pork belly into small pieces.
3) Grind beans into a paste in mortar and pestle removing skins as they slide off.
4) Preheat oven to 350° F.
5) Mix bean paste, shredded cheese, spices and bacon fat together. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 50 minutes, until middle sets and shell is browned.
6) Let tart sit for 10 min before cutting.

Bean Stew
Boil till they split, then take plenty of parsley and a little sage and hyssop, and grind very fine; and after this grind up some bread, and a handful of these same beans which should be peeled and ground with the bread for thickening, then put through a sieve: then fry the rest of your beans in bacon fat, if this is a meat day, or in oil or butter, if this is a fish day; then put your beans in meat stock, if this is a meat day, or in the water from the beans, if this is a fish day.
 Le Menagier de Paris

* 2 branches of parsley, stems removed
* 1 branch of sage, stems removed
* 1 branch of hyssop, stems removed
*1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
* 2 cups cooked large fava beans
* 1/4 cup bacon fat (or butter), for cooking
* 4 cups broth (or 4 cups liquid from cooking beans)

1) Take herbs and grind them into a paste in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
2) Take bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of the cooked beans, that have been peeled, and grind them together. Add cooking liquid of broth to smooth them out and run mixture through a sieve. Set aside.
3) Heat a frying pan to medium, add cooking fat and the rest of the beans, and brown them for ten minutes, stirring constantly.
4) In a large sauce pan add broth, ground herbs, crushed bean mixture, and fried beans with the cooking fat. Heat sauce pan on medium-low for 30 minutes, stirring often, until flavours combine. (Might need to add salt if broth isn’t salted.)

Bean Fritters
Get enough broad-bean paste for the size of fritter you want to make, and get chervil, a little sage, chopped figs, apples, mint and parsley, mix everything together and fry it in good oil; remove it onto a round platter with fine spices on top. The Neapolitan recipe collection

* 1 cup of broad beans, cooked, peeled, and mashed into a paste
* 4 leaves of chervil (French parsley), minced
*  2 leaves of sage, minced
* 3 figs, chopped small
* 3 leaves mint, minced
* 4 leaves parsley, minced
* oil for frying
* cinnamon and ginger for garnish

  1. Mix everything together. The dough should be on the stiff side. Make small patties, or balls with the mixture.
  2. Heat a frying pan on medium, and add fat for frying. Drop patties into oil and fry on each side until fritters are browned.
  3. Lightly garnish with spices and serve.

2 thoughts on “Beans as Thickner

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