Friday 25 January 2013

Chicken porridge, Butter Bean Tagine and Dragonfly Tea weather...

Persian chicken porridge, Haleem, makes a hearty winter breakfast that keeps you warm and full for ages. Like me, it may take you a little while to get used to the idea of chicken and porridge in the same sentence - never mind the same bowl. But now I love it. It's really tasty and perfect if there's roast chicken left over from Sunday lunch that I haven't already planned to make a pie with. You can link to A's recipe here if you'd like to have a try.

It's also been  Butter Bean Tagine weather. I accompanied these with my new favourite Dragonfly tea. If you know about my fondness for insects you would know that I can't resist anything with an insect in the name. Especially not a dragonfly because they remind me of my father. He taught us to respect life...even creepy crawly insects and  would spend ages catching a wasp with a match box and then freeing it outside, and never kill a moth or a fly...however buzzy it was. 

I remember a big brown dragonfly that he had pinned to the wall in his study. He said that it flew down onto his desk one day like a tiny fairy and breathed it's last little breath. So when I saw the box of rooibos and cinnamon tea with a dragonfly on the packet I bought some. And when I make it on cold snowy days in my father's old red metal mug and wrap my hands around it, I think of him and feel all cosy and warm...and the cinnamon smells amazing.

To make Butter Bean Tagine from Big Bean Cookbook recipe on page 162 you will need the following:-

  • 40z/115g butter beans soaked overnight
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 10z/25g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • pinch of saffron
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • A generous pinch of sugar. (I substituted with a good drizzle of honey.)
  • A handful of pitted black olives
  • I tsp paprika
  • A small bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  1. Rinse the beans and place in large saucepan with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for about 10 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until tender. Drain and refresh under cold water. (alternatively you could used canned)
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and cook for about ten minutes. Or until softenend but not browned. ( I allowed my onions to cook longer and caramelise and coloured a  little before adding the ginger and garlic.) Stir in the saffron threads, followed by the tomatoes and sugar (or honey).
  3. As the tomatoes begin to soften ,stir in the butter beans. When the tomatoes have heated through, stir in the olives. ground cinnamon and paprika. Season to taste and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.
I loved this combination of spices and will use it again with other beans and vegetables, what ever is in the store cupboard. It worked really well even though I couldn't get any fresh parsley. A very tasty vegetable supper served with flat bread or rice. 


  1. love your wintry weather photos! I could eat the chicken porridge for dinner for sure, now to eat it for breakfast...that would be different. But if you say it tastes good then it doesn't matter what time of day, right?

  2. The snow makes everywhere look so pretty...although I can hear the rain tumbling down outside tonight so I will all be washed away by the morning. I hope you get your snow as forecast.

    The chicken porridge is an acquired taste and should be served with cinnamon and sugar but I just like it with the plain chicken and oats and a big spoonful of butter melted in...but yes it is a really substantial meal so good for lunch or supper. As you say...any time of day...

  3. This is a good breakfast to start the day!
    I also really like the dragonfly, with its beautiful colors.
    Sure that the tea is very good
    I wish you good week!