Wood Roasted Purple Carrots with Fresh Borlotti Beans

We trialled some borlotti beans in the garden this year. Ha, listen to me, “trialled”. Like everything we plant in our veggie patch isn’t a ‘throw it to the wind and hope for the best’ kind of endeavour. Sometimes we end up with food on our plates and sometimes the runner ducks or earwigs get in first. That’s just the way things roll out here on the hill, and we’re good with that. But when we end up at the table with plates piled high from produce we have planted, tended, weeded, chatted to and finally picked, there’s always a special pause before we tuck in. A little space for the timeline that landed the seeds we planted in front of us, months on, in totally different outfits to how they went into the ground. Some kind of magic later and we’re eating bright pink beans and deep purple carrots.

How insanely beautiful is the borlotti? I haven’t really had much of a chance to get to know them in their fresh guise, more so from the can, and although they taste good either way, that stunning colour palette, both before they’re shelled and after, made me rethink this little bean. Why not make it the star of a dish rather than sending it to the corp? I’ll tell you why. Because that tricky little minx sheds its fabulous technicolour dreamcoat when it’s cooked. Oh well. Still tastes colourful.

And just in case, some gnarly purple carrots went in too. These guys wouldn’t win a beauty contest, but again, so delicious you could never hold it against them. Yummy winter fare that happily roasted away in our wood fired oven while we worked in the garden until the sun set, putting up tiny fences to keep our new clutch of chicks from eating the fennel before it even hints at being bulblike. We figure ‘hoping for the best’ works better with a bit of a barrier between what’s edible and what’s eating it.

 

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Wood Roasted Purple Carrots with Fresh Borlotti Beans

I did intend to add the purple beans from the photograph into this dish too but I ate them raw while I was cooking. It couldn’t be helped.

 

1 bunch organic heirloom purple carrots

300g organic borlotti beans

1 bunch organic marjoram

1 bunch organic lemon thyme

organic extra virgin olive oil

1 organic meyer lemon

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

polenta to serve

 

Wash the carrots really well. Really well. They are notorious for hiding grit in their purple skin so well worth being slightly obsessive about this step.

Cut them into bite sized chunks and put into an oven proof baking dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil and scatter stripped marjoram and lemon thyme leaves over the top. Season with sea salt and pepper and roast for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. It took longer in our woodfired oven but in a conventional oven it probably wouldn’t need much more than an hour.

 

If you can get fresh borlotti beans then you can add them to the roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time. If using canned then you’ll only need to heat them through so 15 minutes would be plenty. If using dried, soak and boil them, then add them for the last 15 minutes to make them a little nuttier.

 

When cooked, remove from oven and stir to bring some of the richly flavour oil from the bottom of the pan to coat the vegetables. Add extra fresh marjoram and lemon thyme, squeeze the juice of the meyer lemon over the top and serve with polenta. Hearty.

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