Tomato, Pork Belly and Butterbean Stew
by Paul, The Yorkshire Gourmet
Sweet, spicy, smokey and tangy! This is a quick cook stew with bags of flavour that’ll feed a family of four. It’s spiced with cinnamon bark, black cardamom, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and mace and sweetened with honey. The pork is caramelised in sherry with a touch of smoked paprika and is added to the stew towards the end of cooking. Sherry goes well with the pork but feel free to add bourbon whisky or brandy if you prefer. The vapours when cooking are tremendous, especially outdoors, a delight to the senses! Tip: Buy organic pork belly if you can obtain it, it’s ethically better and the flavour is superior. Organic pork releases less water when cooking compared to meat that isn’t organic and this speeds up the cooking process and the rate that the meat begins to caramelise in the pan. Serves 4 Ingredients: 400g pork belly (preferably organic), sliced 400g tin of chopped tomatoes 400g tin of butterbeans 450ml ham stock 1 large onion, halved and sliced 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped 1 fat clove of smoked garlic, peeled and thinly sliced a generous splash of sherry 2 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp cayenne pepper 2 tbsp rapeseed oil 2 tbsp runny honey 2 sprigs of thyme 1 bay leaf sea salt muslin spice bag: a piece of cinnamon bark 2 black cardamom pods 4 black peppercorns a blade of mace to serve: roughly chopped flat leaf parsley crusty bread (optional) equipment required: double gas hob 1 large saucepan 1 medium saucepan 1 frying pan Method:
- Pre-prepare the spices by wrapping them in a small piece of muslin tied together with string.
- Put the large saucepan over a medium heat then add a tablespoon of oil. When hot add the sliced onion, chopped celery and carrots. Stir the vegetables around to coat them in oil and cook for a few minutes then add the sliced garlic. Turn the heat down and put a lid on the pan to sweat the vegetables and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Stir everything around every now and then so that nothing burns or sticks to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat up the ham stock until boiling.
- When the vegetables are soft, add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of smoked paprika and stir everything around in the pan to coat the vegetables in the spices.
- Next add the chopped tomatoes along with the stock and turn up the heat to bring to the boil. When the pan is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, add the spice bag along with the bay leaf and thyme and continue cooking for a further 10 to 15 minutes. The stew needs to simmer sufficiently until the liquid has reduced down and thickened.
- Next add the butterbeans to the stew and heat through. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan then add a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is smoking add the slices of belly pork. Stir them around in the pan to coat the meat with oil and about a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Stir again. Add a generous splash of sherry to the pan and watch your eyebrows (or beard in my case) if it lights up in flames!
- Drizzle the honey over the pork and stir the meat around in the pan until it’s well caramelised. Total cooking time for the pork is about 10 minutes depending on the power of the gas hob.
- Remove the spice bag and herbs from the stew then add the meat. Stir everything around and cook for a few minutes more for the flavours to combine. It’s important to taste the stew to check for seasoning so add a pinch of salt as necessary. I like to add black sea salt as it has a more sophisticated and slightly darker flavour which complements this stew.
- To serve, ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with some freshly chopped flat leaf parsley. Some crusty bread is also great for mopping up all the juices!