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Mashed Black-eyed Beancakes with Ginger Onion Marmalade

Black-eyed beans are the lovely nutty beans that are popular in recipes from the deep south of America and, with the addition of other vegetables, they make very good beancakes. Fried crisp and crunchy on the outside and served with delectable ginger onion marmalade, this makes a splendid vegetarian main course. The marmalade is not only a wonderful accompaniment to mashed black-eyed beancakes but is great as a relish for all kinds of other dishes – meat, fish or vegetarian.


This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.


First of all the black-eyed beans need soaking – this can be done by covering them with twice their volume of cold water and leaving them overnight or, alternatively, bringing them up to the boil, boiling for 10 minutes and then leaving to soak for 2 hours. The green lentils won't need soaking.

To make the marmalade, peel and slice the onions into ¼ inch (5 mm) rings (slice any really large outer rings in half). Then take a solid medium-sized saucepan and heat the olive oil. When it's hot, add the onions and the rosemary, stir well, and toss the onions around till they're golden and tinged brown at the edges (about 10 minutes).

After that pour in the white wine and white wine vinegar followed by the brown sugar and the grated ginger, stir and bring everything up to simmering point. Add salt and pepper, then turn the heat down to low again and let everything simmer very gently for 1¼ hours or until all the liquid has almost disappeared. Then remove the rosemary, pour everything into a serving bowl and you can serve it warm – or I think it's quite nice cold with the hot beancakes.

To make the beancakes, once the soaking is done, take a medium-sized saucepan, add the drained beans and the lentils, then pour in 1 pint (570 ml) water, add the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme, then bring everything up to a gentle simmer and let them cook for about 40-45 minutes, by which time all the water should have been absorbed and the beans and lentils will be completely soft. If there's any liquid still left, drain them in a colander. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Now you need to mash them to a pulp and you can do this using a fork, potato masher or electric hand whisk. After that give them a really good seasoning with salt and freshly milled black pepper and put a clean tea cloth over them to stop them becoming dry.

Now take a really large frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then heat it over a medium heat and add the onion, carrot, pepper, chilli and garlic. Sauté them all together for about 6 minutes, moving them around the pan to soften and turn golden brown at the edges.

After that mix all the vegetables into the mashed bean and lentil mixture, add the mace and chopped thyme and tomato paste, then dampen your hands and form the mixture into 12 round cakes measuring approximately 2½-3 inches (6-7.5 cm) in diameter. Then place them on a plate or a lightly oiled tray, cover with clingfilm and keep them in the refrigerator until needed, but for 1 hour minimum.

When you're ready to serve the beancakes, coat them lightly with wholewheat flour seasoned with salt and freshly milled black pepper, then heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When it is really hot, reduce the heat to medium and fry the beancakes in two batches for 3 minutes on each side until they're crisp and golden, adding more oil if needed.
Drain them on kitchen paper and serve garnished with sprigs of watercress and the ginger onion marmalade.


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