Escabeche is a very convenient dish. Usually made with fish instead of beans (or chicken), this recipe can be prepared in advance, as its taste actually improves after several hours (or overnight), when all the flavors have melded together. Enjoyed either hot or at room temperature, this dish is also ideal to take to work for lunch, or bring along to a picnic. If you’re on a rush and don’t have time for cooking one day, this is the perfect dish to make in advance and have ready in the fridge, waiting to be enjoyed whenever you get hungry.
Full of flavor, nutritious, and incredibly cheap, this vegetarian version of escabeche is usually made with Lima beans, but you can use any kind of legume you like, as I’ve done here. Be practical. Use what you have in hand. Don’t worry if you don’t have the right Peruvian chili pepper or the right kind of onion. Instead, be creative and replace ingredients. Certainly the dish won’t be the same but it will be delicious.
- 1 pound canary beans
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pound small red onions
- 6 garlic cloves, divided
- 2 ají amarillo (fresh, frozen or jarred)
- 1 tablespoon ají panca paste
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 4 Iceberg lettuce leaves
- 4 black olives
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
- Put the beans in a bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight. The next day drain the beans and transfer to a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to medium and cook partially covered with a lid, for 1 hour or until the beans are soft. Add salt to taste.
- When the beans are ready, heat a frying pan with the olive oil over medium heat, add, and saute 2 onions cut in thick slices, from root to top, and 3 chopped garlic cloves, together with the ají panca and ají amarillo, bay leaves, vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the vegetable stock and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Strain the beans and put in a serving dish. Top with escabeche sauce and serve over a lettuce leaf, garnished with black olives, and, if desired, hard-boiled egg halves.