Not perhaps the most obvious recipe to offer for the holiday period but a real belly-warmer. It’s one I like to have handy in the freezer, ideal for those days when you want something comforting and a lot more satisfying than defrosting a supermarket pizza.
This one-pot is one of my autumn/winter standbys, in fact I’ve made it so often I can almost do it blindfold and with one hand tied behind my back. It was a bit of a surprise, therefore, to realise I’ve never really shared it with you properly before.
You may well have your own version of pork and beans. This is mine. I’ve given you a sort of master recipe but it comes out slightly differently each time because I use whatever I have handy. Please feel free to adapt it.
Ideally it contains belly pork, chorizo, tomatoes and beans. Pork belly is perfect here because it goes all soft and lip-sticky. I use paprika if I’ve run out of chorizo and chickpeas when I don’t have beans. My personal favourite is big, fat, creamy butterbeans but haricots or borlottis work too.
It is a meat dish but it’s packed with fresh veg … onions, garlic, celery, peppers, the tomatoes and spinach or kale. If you substitute kale in the recipe below, remove the ribs, shred it fairly finely and cook for a bit longer.
It benefits from being made a day in advance although that’s not essential. I made a double batch so I could freeze some – halve the quantities if you prefer. Don’t add the spinach, though, until just before serving.
Happy Christmas, Hannukah, Solstice or whatever you are celebrating. Thanks for visiting … see you in the New Year and let’s hope 2021 is an improvement on the annus horribilis that was 2020.
Pork, Beans and Chorizo
150g spicy chorizo, cut into rings
700g belly pork slices, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, de-stringed and chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 peppers, a mix of colours if possible, stalks, seeds and ribs removed, cut into large dice
2 tins of tomatoes, chopped + half a tin of water
Salt and pepper
2 tins of butterbeans (see intro)
200g spinach, washed and dried
Optionally: chopped fresh coriander to garnish
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Put a large deep frying pan or casserole, one which has a lid, on a medium heat. Dry fry the chorizo until the oil runs. Scoop onto a plate. Add a little more oil if necessary and brown the pork in batches. Set aside with the chorizo.
Now fry the onions and celery, sprinkled with a little salt, until soft and golden. Again, add more oil if necessary. Throw in the garlic and peppers and cook until the peppers are just beginning to soften at the edges, stirring occasionally so the garlic doesn’t burn.
Put the pork and chorizo back in the pan, along with any meat juices, add the tomatoes and half a tin of water. Add the drained beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, put on a lid and cook in the pre-heated oven for around an hour. If you prefer, cook on the hob with the lid on at a gentle simmer. The pork should be meltingly tender, so if it isn’t, give it a little longer.
Once the pork is done, check the seasoning and stir gently but thoroughly so the beans thicken the juices without breaking up. Put the pan on the hob on a medium heat, heap the spinach across the top and replace the lid. (If you have previously frozen the dish, defrost, obvs, and heat through thoroughly before adding the spinach.)
Cook until the spinach is just beginning to wilt, stir it in and serve straight away in deep bowls. Garnish with coriander if you like. Although this is designed as a one-pot, some crusty bread to mop up the juices doesn’t go amiss.