I find the gentle mealiness of cannellini or butter beans very comforting. This mash is incredibly quick and easy to make – no peeling required – and is great with anything that you would serve with mashed potato: casserole, sausages, a chop, vegetable stew. Most recently I served this with slow-cooked lamb shanks and it was a great complement to the dark, sticky, tender meat.
I always have a couple of cans of white beans in the store cupboard for adding to soups and casseroles, making bean dips (like this recipe by Travel Gourmet) – or making mash.
You can of course cook the beans from scratch (you’d need about 350g of dried beans), in which case keep a bit of the cooking water to get your mash to the right consistency. This quantity serves 4-6, depending on how much you have with it.
4 tbsp (60 ml) olive oil, plus a bit to drizzle
1 clove garlic
Sprig fresh rosemary or thyme (optional)
grated zest 1 lemon
3 x 400-gram cans of cannelloni or butter beans
salt & pepper
Put 4 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan, crush the garlic and add it with the sprig of rosemary (if using) and lemon zest and warm through for a few minutes. Remove the rosemary or thyme, but do not throw away.
Empty the cans of beans into a sieve and rinse them under cold running water. Tip them into the flavoured oil in the pan and warm over medium heat, stirring them with a wooden spoon and crushing them to a rough mash. If you want a smoother texture, use a stick blender to puree further – you may need to loosen the mash with a little warm water (or the retained cooking water from the beans).
Strip the leaves from the sprig of herbs and chop them finely. Season the mash to taste, scatter over the chopped herbs and drizzle with a little more olive oil.