Brothy Beans with Preserved Lemons



I love nothing more than the texture of home cooked beans, don’t get me wrong I use tinned beans often, but when I really want to feel virtues and partly Italian I soak and cook my beans from scratch.

I say from scratch, like its hard work but it really is not, it just takes a bit of forward planning by soaking your beans the night before.

You can use any beans but I prefer the smaller white varieties like cannelini or haricot beans.

I have two ways of cooking my beans, the all-in-one-way (recipe here) and this method what I call my ‘brothy beans’.

The beans will keep for a week in the fridge and I find all sorts of ways to eat them.



  • 1 cup beans, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 15g parsley, leaves picked & stalks kept
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, skinned and bashed
  • generous piece (about 6cm) of pecorino or parmesan cheese or rind
  • 1/2 cup very good olive oil
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 half (two quarters) preserved lemon rind, chopped
  • zest of one lemon
  • salt & pepper


  1. Drain the beans and rinse under cold water.
  2. Add the beans to a medium saucepan and add 3 times the amount of water. Bring to a simmer and skim off any foam from the surface.
  3. Now add the bay leaves, parsley stalks, lemon, bashed garlic and cheese chunk or rind. Let the beans slowly simmer (with the lid ajar) until tender but still holding their shape. Don’t add any salt yet and the broth will turn wonderfully milky.
  4. Once the beans are tender tender, drain the beans but reserve all the liquid in a bowl. Remove the lemon, and herbs and mash the garlic and return to the beans. Add the beans to a pretty plate, while still warm add the olive oil and season well.
  5. Add the liquid to the same bean saucepan and turn the heat right up, boil (called reduce) the liquid until half in volume, you should be left with about two cups. Turn off the heat, cool a little and add one cup of the broth to the beans, stir well.
  6. Add the preserved lemon, spring onions, lemon zest and parsley. Taste and season. If you want your beans more brothy add some more broth liquid. Taste for final seasoning adjusting to your taste, maybe a squeeze of lemon juice? Enjoy!
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