Braised beans with black olives & lemon

by Jenny Chandler

A simple and delicious light meal or side dish

I adore these braised beans as a stand-alone dish with some great bread, but they’re equally good as a side with lamb, chicken or fish. Track down some really tasty black olives such as Kalamata or Nicoise for this; the ubiquitous bargain-basement black olives in a tin just aren’t worth eating.


500g home-cooked butter beans, drained
100ml extra virgin olive oil
A glass of white wine
150ml chicken, vegetable stock or bean water (if you have cooked your own)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
20 black olives, pitted
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Handful of basil, ripped into small pieces


Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the beans in a shallow oven-proof dish and pour over the olive oil and enough bean water or stock to just cover the beans. Stir in the garlic, a little salt and pepper and any other herbs or seasonings.

Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven. After about ½ an hour, stir in the black olives and lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, check there is still enough liquid and place back in the oven without the cover.

Cook for a further 20 mins until the liquid has reduced a little. Check the seasoning then add the lemon juice and basil. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler