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Butter Bean and Tuna Gratin

ingredients

serves 4
8 oz (225 g) dried butter beans
400 ml (3/4 pint) milk
small piece of onion
small piece of carrot
bay leaf
6 peppercorns
blade of mace
1 lb (450 g) fresh or frozen broccoli
198 g (7 oz) can tuna, drained
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp (40 g) butter
4 level tbsps (60 ml) plain flour (All purpose)
50g (2 oz) English Cheddar cheese, grated

method

1. Soak beans overnight in cold water.

2. Put the milk, vegetables, bay leaf and spices in a saucepan, bring slowly to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave, covered, to infuse.

3. Drain the beans and cook in a pan of gently boiling water until tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Drain.

4. Meanwhile, break the broccoli into florets and cook in a little boiling salted water until just tender. Drain and arrange in a buttered shallow ovenproof dish.

5. Flake the tuna and combine with the cooked beans and seasoning. Pile in the centre of the dish.

6. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour.and cook gently for 1 minute, stirring. Remove pan from the heat and gradually stir in the strained milk. Bring to the boil and continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, then add seasoning to taste. Pour over the tuna and broccoli mixture.

7. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the oven at 200°C (400f) mark 6 for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

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