This is a Lindsey Dickson's, Chef from The Eating Tree, version of a North African stew that is traditionally made with mallow leaves.
In the part of Suffolk where she lives, Malva sylvestris, or common mallow, is considered a nuisance, self seeding wherever it likes in the wild and well tended herbaceous borders alike. The leaves are indeed edible, great for thickening stews. The liquid from the boiled roots can be used as a substitute for egg whites.
However, it is the leaves of the Jute Mallow or Corchorus Olitorius which would be called for in the original recipe. Although this highly nutritious ‘Egyptian spinach’ is cultivated widely in Egypt, Syria and parts of India, not unsurprisingly it is impossible to find in her local farm shop. To make matters easier, Lindsey used two vegetables which she knows and loves and happens to have growing in abundance in her vegetable patch. If you have difficulty sourcing Swiss chard, use just spinach.
For 4 Person(s)
Boil the haricot beans rapidly for 10 minutes then rinse and drain.
Whilst boiling, blanch the washed, chopped spinach (and chard if using) in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until wilted then drain.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil, then add the garlic, chilli, paprika, bay leaf, black pepper (about 20 turns of the grinder) and passata and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the haricot beans and the water, bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 mins - 1 hour until the beans are cooked.
Add the potatoes, greens, peas, olives, cayenne, salt and half the coriander and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, and the liquid has reduced.
Add the lemon juice and remaining coriander and cook for a further 10 minutes.
The finished stew can be eaten hot with the delicious sauce soaked up with some flat bread. It can even be eaten cold or for breakfast.