Two music graduates chronicle the culinary delights of Leeds and London and explore the height of fine dining on a limited budget.

Good food is well punk.

August 31, 2010

No Beans About it: A Simple Pork Casserole

Apologies for the lack of updates recently, but rather selfishly my parents have decided to knock out the whole back of the house and redo the kitchen at the very same time that I moved back home from Leeds. The upshot of this is that we've been surviving on baguettes from the local French deli and microwave meals. Shudder.

In any case, I was finally allowed into the kitchen the other night to use the new fridge and hob. Limited for space amongst the dusty surfaces and power tools, I had to make something that wouldn't require too much preparation and had little chance of spoiling or getting dust in it. I came up with this.

Serves 4

4 Pork Chops (or similar amount of diced pork)
50g Prosciutto (or lardons, or diced smoked bacon)
1-2 Red onions
1-2 Red Peppers
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Tin Red Kidney Beans
Olive Oil

Firstly, begin by chopping up the pork. I divided each chop into three as a compromise between reducing the cooking time and having a having something large to get your teeth into. Heat a small glug of oil in a casserole dish and brown off the pork. There's no need to cook it all through, just let it take on colour. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Throw in some more olive oil, thickly slice the onion and roughly chop the pepper and add to the pan when the oil's ready. Add the prosciutto (diced if not already), and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. It might seem somewhat excessive to have two kinds of pork in the dish, but it's really important to incorporate the smokiness into the dish. Finely slice the garlic and add to the pot. Rinse the beans, and add when the garlic just starts to brown and become aromatic. Add the reserved pork, refill the bean tin with water, and fill the casserole dish until the food is completely covered in liquid. At this point you might want to add some herbs or paprika, but I think this dish has enough in it to let the taste of the pork shine through.

I neglected to take a picture, so enjoy this mercilessly stolen shot of some bacon being chopped up 

Simmer as long as you can bear, but for at least half an hour. The idea is the reduce the liquid in the pot until it thickens from the partially dissolving kidney beans. As with all stews, it's not an exact science; add more water if you feel it needs it, cover the casserole if you feel it's evaporating too rapidly. You'll want to scrape the bottom now and then to avoid the food burning, but don't be too much of a zealot about this. The burnt bits at the bottom are often the best part. When it's done, serve with rice, polenta or crusty bread.

Like all stews, it was eaten in a far shorter time than it took to make it. But that's no bad thing, as by that point we were completely ravenous. A few glasses of red wine and immediately the house began to feel like a home again.

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