Butter Bean, Sage and Tuna Dip, with melted Cheddar cheese and sour cream

Butter Bean, Sage and Tuna Dip, with melted Cheddar cheese and sour cream

Faffing around my local supermarket last night, like most nights, I headed to the canned legume section after tut, tutting the state of most of the, apparently, fresh vegetables. BOGOF on cans of butter beans, one of my favourites, so two of those were grabbed (Buy One Get One Free).

Immediately behind me were the tins of fish and seafood, so instead of going with bacon that I’ve stopped buying as it smells like a farmyard whilst cooking, I grabbed a can of tuna chunks – hypocrite that I am as I was no longer buying tuna as they’re not exactly sustainable. Hmm, had forgotten just how good the flavours of butter beans, sage and canned tuna are together – there goes my good intentions.

Butter Bean, Sage and Tuna Dip, with melted Cheddar cheese and sour cream

Some may sneer at the thought of adding lots of grated Cheddar cheese to a sups that consisted of pasta with butter beans, leeks, sage and tuna. Guess what, this post ain’t about my sups last night. Ordinarily it’s highly unusual of me to grate any form of cheese over pasta. Not that I’m an aficionado on everything pasta – I just keep forgetting to buy in Grana Padano! Besides, the Cheddar I already had had been massively reduced due to its sell-by date so it needed using up. No one needs to know that I practically smothered my pasta in the stuff and stuffed my face until well and truly satiated. Have to say that it tasted really good. Here, with this Butter Bean, Sage and Tuna Dip I’ve purposely kept this rustic and served it with thick slices of home-made yoghurt bread – which will hopefully be a separate post at some stage if I can ever manage to get the ratios right. I’m using an existing recipe, which is unusual as I never normally cook from recipes, where I’ve halved the ingredients and can’t quite get it to work. Next time I’ll be adding an egg and extra flour to see if that works. Anyway, I’d far rather develop this type of dip to serve it in a pastry shell. I can only find those individual metal tart trays, or whatever they’re called, for baking pastry shells with fluted edges – something I dislike as I far prefer the straight edged look. The idea would be to cook a shrimp jelly to pour over this dip spread within its pastry shell, either large or as individual tarts. That way it could taste and look much more upscale. If that’s the case certain types may overlook the inclusion of melted Cheddar cheese. And if they don’t, they can order takeaways!

Butter Bean, Sage and Tuna Dip, with melted Cheddar cheese and sour cream

  • Servings: 2 or 4 as a starter
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • olive oil
  • 1 x medium leek about 170g (5.99 oz), white and pale green only, trimmed, sliced crossways into discs and rinsed thoroughly in cold running water (if leeks are in season where you are do double the amount used. I’ll wait until Autumn to do that)
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, split
  • large pinch x cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 x teaspoon dried sage (dried sage can be very strong in flavour so add less and taste for any needed extra)
  • 1 x 420g or 235g (14.81 or 8.28 oz) drained weight can butter beans, well rinsed
  • 1 x 170g or 120g drained weight (5.99 or 4.23 oz drained) can tuna chunks in brine, well drained
  • 1/2 x small green capsicum/bell/pepper, washed, membranes and seeds removed and discarded, pepper chopped into small dice
  • up to 2 x tablespoons sour cream (start off with 1 and add more to personal taste), sub with plain yoghurt if counting calories
  • up to 100g (3.52 oz) x mature Cheddar cheese (or use a favourite hard or soft cheese), grated
  • fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped or snipped, to serve
  • seasoning, taste before adding any freshly ground sea salt as the tuna can be salty but, either way, definitely add freshly ground black pepper

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Make sure the leeks are thoroughly rinsed to rid them of any dirt and grit. Drain them well. Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). When pan is hot enough add a little oil and scatter in the leeks with the bay leaf. Plonk a lid on pan and allow to sweat for a good 10 or 15 minutes, stirring through occasionally. Take off lid, reduce heat to No 2, add the diced green pepper and continue to pan-fry, stirring through, until the leeks are nicely soft and turning sticky. Push the leek mixture to the sides of pan and add the rinsed butter beans.  Allow those to settle and give them enough time to take on a soft golden colour. Sprinkle over the dried sage.
  • Push the leek and butter beans to the sides, pour over a drizzle more oil and add the tuna. Again allow to settle, and don’t worry too much if the tuna starts to catch a little as it lends more flavour. Any sign of scorching take off heat and allow to cool before continuing. Sprinkle over the cayenne pepper, take off heat, add the cheese and sour cream and allow enough time for the cheese to melt. Allow to cool completely before serving. Taste for any needed salt as the tuna can be salty, although do add freshly ground black pepper and lots of fresh parsley.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


33 comments

    • Yes, I was as well. There’s something almost comforting about this combination of flavours, regardless of how basic they are. I still want to develop this a bit further to bring it up a notch or two.

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  1. Not sure I’ve eaten sage and tuna together, intriguing and I must try, I’ve successfully grown 4 new sage plants this year, so will try with fresh, and of course I love butter beans, nice one. Look forward to the yoghurt bread post. Weird that the bacon smells of farmyard wonder what’s going on there… 🙂

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    • It’s probably that I’m not buying expensive bacon for doing bacon bits. Seriously, can’t stand the smell. So these days I’m using pancetta occasionally instead.
      – Don’t know why but I really like tuna with the butter beans and sage. Would prefer to use fresh sage, though. If you can try and get yourself a pineapple sage as it’s delicious with green leaves…drool.
      – I’m looking forward to the yoghurt bread as well 🙂 Just can’t get the correct ratios sorted, although I’ve managed to get the perfect oven temp. At least that’s something!

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  2. Oh my gosh. This sounds delicious (and I love your light, summery pictures in this post. Perfect styling for the picnic-style spread!). I usually buy my tuna in oil, as I hate that the meat becomes a little dry in springwater or brine. Did you buy brined tuna as a low-fat option, or does it just work better in this dish? I intend to try it really soon.
    (P.S. One of my unreasonably frugal friends sends me a photo on his phone of every BOGOF offer he sees. Usually with commentary. It’s hilarious!)

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    • Thanks for that! I’m actually quite enjoying taking photos using the pine board I found on the street recently (isn’t life glam??). Seems to work quite well with white fabric.
      – When I do buy tuna I always buy it in brine. Partly as I never normally cook with salt anyway. Besides, I find tuna in oil a little too oily – what am I writing this nonsense for? I’ve stopped drinking. Maybe I should start again!
      – You should do a post on your friends BOGOF finds. That would be great fun!

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      • Haaaa, yes maybe I should! Re the BOGOF, I mean! And yes, tuna in oil is quite oily. You made absolute sense 😉 I love the fact that you found that board on the street. Great scavenge!!

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        • All of the boards I use, both as backdrops and as table surfaces, have been scavenged (love it)! Most of the props are less than 50p. If I have to pay more than £1 that particular prop has to be extra special 🙂 And will probably be used to within an inth of its life!

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    • Those pretty plates aren’t really the look I’m after right now. Can’t get my mitts on white side plates that are textured. Of course, I don’t want to buy new ones for my blog. Far too expensive when I’ve got a gluttonous appetite to deal with 🙂 Bring me more home-made bread and pastries! Seriously, I’ve never eaten so much bread before.

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      • I was eyeing (sp?) that bread in your post greedily! Do you guys have “garage sales” in your neck of the woods? Those can be treasure troves for props on the cheap. (Sadly none in the NY area- it’s more of a suburban thing.)

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        • We have the equivalent of car boot sales. But they tend to be in huge car parks where you need a car to get there! And I don’t drive. Possibly it’s just as well as otherwise my flat could turn into a shop 🙂

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  3. Morning Johnny! I actually have an open jar of butter beans so I may be trying this. I´ve never seen sour cream here, so even though I don´t count calories, would have to substitute with yogurt!
    By the way, I have noticed that your photos do look lighter and springy/summery now 🙂

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    • Thank you!
      You can sub single/light cream with a little fresh lemon juice, which is what sour cream is (sort of). If that helps. Otherwise, I’m absolutely loving Greek style yoghurt, atm. Except in my strong black coffee!
      – Here’s to summer!

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  4. mmm… think I might have to try this very soon. How do you think drained chili tuna would go with this? Thanks for sharing!

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    • If you like your heat then why not. I wouldn’t, even though I love chilli. Yes, I do include a large pinch of cayenne but I have more control over the final taste. I’m really not keen on canned tuna or fish with flavourings of any sort. Call me a puritan!
      Thanks for your comment!

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  5. Ahhhh. I love butter beans. I would never think to have tuna with them. Visualizing the two together with sage definitely sounds delicious. Thank you Johnny for the butter bean idea!

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    • So do I, as in loving butter beans. You can imagine how pleased I was to be able to buy two cans for the price of one. That aside, I’ve just been researching the net for savoury jellies to include a prawn or shrimp jelly for a tart to top the butter bean mixture. It’ll be a case of being able to buy agar agar here. May have to wait until next week for that to happen. I’m so impatient sometimes when it comes to developing recipes 🙂

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    • Can’t quite believe how much home-made bread I’ve been eating. Usually with shop-bought I only eat a slice or two. Whew, could easily go through half of these quick breads in one go! Hopefully I’ll get the recipe sorted out for the yoghurt bread next week 🙂 So need more of it!

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  6. I add sage to beans all the time and add white beans to tuna for a dip. I have never thought to add the three together…thanks Johnny.

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    • Isn’t it surprising how we work with certain ingredients. I’m often thinking, but I never thought of using that combination before. Not all of them work, of course. And I can’t imagine using dried sage (nor fresh) with tuna alone. And I only ever use sage with butter beans and no other legumes. Why? No idea. I guess I get fixed in my ways of using certain ingredients together that I know will work.

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  7. ciao! your presentation is just the best, and i can actually taste this butter beans tuna recipe. as a point of reference, cannellini beans and tuna are a tuscan classic, and a favourite. the leeks in your recipe are just the best touch. i want to prepare this asap. but then, that;s how i feel about all your recipes 🙂
    thebestdressup

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    • Ah, didn’t even realise that re Tuscan classic. Must look out for some recipes. Although, I can’t imagine they would use canned tuna in Italy, or would they? Perhaps out of season. Talking of which, you’ve reminded me to update this post as leeks aren’t in season here right now – stumpy, horrible things that don’t taste of much which is why I’ve used very few of them. Far better during autumn and winter to use loads more. Still, there are those that read this that are dealing with winter.
      – As always, thanks!

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