Most of the recipes in this section involve beans combined with various vegetables. Worldwide, the variety of dishes is immense. My selection ranges from fragrant spiced bean casserole, to rather more theatrical sweet potato and parsnip stew. There are also earthy lentil dahls from India and a Japanese influenced Hoppin’ John.
All the beans in the ingredients lists are dried; most need cold water soaking overnight, or may be soaked in boiling water for one hour prior to cooking. Some of the smaller members of the legume family, like lentils, can be cooked without pre-soaking. However, it will not do them any harm to be soaked and it cuts down on cooking time and the amount of water they absorb. Simmer all these dishes over a low flame so they soak up all the flavours slowly. Never add salt until the very last moment when checking the flavour; it hardens the beans and they will not cook.