Regional Cuisine with Mogettes

Recently it was suggested to my mother-in-law that she go through a radical life change to address some health issues: to stop eating things that have a face. Or is derived from them. The diagnosis came right before my parents-in-law would visit us in the Vendée, and so the challenge to find meals a diabetic with heart issues could eat, was on.

As a part-time vegetarian myself, I knew it would not be an easy feat in this area. But we found the local white kidney bean, called mogette in French, would serve the purpose of a fiber -and protein rich diet well. Even in restaurants, the ham that is typically served as part of this local delicacy, is traditionally prepared on the side.

At the end of August 2018, we attended la fête de l’agriculture de Vendée in La Chataigneraie. Wonderfully, the in-season crops had been grown in an on-site demonstration. About the mogettes, we learned this from the accompanying plaque: "Cultivated since the 16th century in vendee, the mogette is part of the local culinary heritage. The quality of grains, melting with a very fine skin, homogeneous and regular, is directly related to the pedoclimatic characteristics of the zone, but also to the know-how of the local producers acquired over the years." [translation of right-hand image]


I decided to experiment with the meal at home, and maybe give my own twist to it. I do love clashing cultures together to create something entirely new e.g. I thought celery would be good for extra flavouring. For our table, I made it entirely vegetarian, and as the diet calls for, not even oil was allowed, let alone butter.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan (with some adjustments), heart-disease, and diabetic friendly. Meat can be served on the side.

Bren's Vegetarian Mogettes: ingredients

  • about 500 g (2 cups or 17 oz) of Mogettes du Vendée (basically these are white kidney beans)
  • 4 medium sized carrots, or 3 large, peeled, then washed, and shopped into cubes
  • 1 cup of chopped green celery
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 bouquet garni consisting of thyme and laurel (around 6 bay leaves)
  • 1 handful of super finely chopped parsley flat-leaf or curly, as you wish
  • salt, pepper
  • Knorr vegetable broth - to taste but if salt is an issue, less of it
  • garlic powder to taste if needed

Optional - for the carnivores at the dinner table

  • sliced Vendéen ham (to pan fry until heated through on a hot skillet - a couple of minutes on each side)
  • 50 g to 60 g (1/4 cup or 2 oz) salted butter
  • chili pepper or cayenne or harissa (chili pepper paste) if you'd like the dish a bit more spicy

Vegetarian Vendéen Mogettes: method

  • Soak dry mogettes in a large bowl of water overnight OR for the fast method, soak in hot water for a good hour.
  • Add vegetables to a Dutch oven or a large pot and sautée for a few minutes - take care the garlic doesn't burn, or it will turn bitter - you can add the garlic later
  • Drain and rinse the beans
  • Add the mogettes to the vegetables and sautée for 2 to 4 more minutes
  • Add the bouquet garni
  • Add hot water to cover the beans
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Simmer over medium heat for 1 h 30 or so. Add a little water as necessary but in a dutch oven covered with lid it should be fine.
  • When the mogettes are tender, remove the bouquet garni, and adjust seasoning to taste (optional: add salted butter)
  • Add the chopped parsley - simmer for one more minute
  • Optional: fry or grill the slices of vendéen ham in a hot pan, about 2 minutes on each side. Serve them on the plate next to the mogettes
  • Serve with baguette
  • add a dollop of Greek yogurt

Nutritional value

For 100 g of dry Mogettes:
• energy 265 kcal
• protein 21,1 g
• carbohydrates 41.4 g
• fat 1.2 g
• fiber 18.1 g

•sodium 15 mg
•magnesium 180 mg (60% of RDA)
• phosphorus 350 mg (44% of RDA)
• iron 7 mg (50% of RDA)
• vitamin B1- 0.5 mg (36% of RDA)
• vitamin B6- 0.5 mg (25% of RDA)

Because of the excellent flavours, low sodium and especially its nutritional value, this recipe has been mother-in-law approved... though she warned it might be windy in the Vendée tonight!

From our kitchen to yours... bon appétit!

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