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Recipe: Roast Pork & Black Bean Chilli

On a trip to the butcher recently, I spied a hand of pork, an old school cut that you don’t see so often now and certainly never in the supermarkets. It’s a meaty cut, the lower part of the shoulder, often with some of the leg still attached. It has more fat than the leg or loin but less than the belly or shoulder and so is perfectfor a roast, with plenty of flavour and moisture from the fat, but is not so fatty that you worry for your health. It’s also got lots of skin for crackling and is usually terrific value for money. I predict that it will become the next trendy cut.

I roasted it when I got home as this particular evening demanded the simplicity of it, and the time. Unusual to want more time, but I was shattered and wanted a nap as it was roasting.  It was simple with the usual tricks: hot water over the scored skin to puff the skin up so that it would deliver better crackling, dried with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel until not a trace of moisture was left and salted with sea salt. It took over a couple of hours for the joint that I had: I will roast another one soon and record the times and intricacies, for now I will get tell you what I did with the leftovers: black bean chilli.

Savoury, sweet, juicy, succulent, spicy and hot, what’s not to love? I love all pulses but black beans and pork are fantastic together. Black bean chilli is a purist dish, and I normally prefer to take the purist approach, but this evening, I wanted it and I had little time, I had very good leftover roast pork, so I figured that I could take a few shortcuts.

I had no time to prepare any home cooked beans for this dish as it was a craving that descended on the tube home one evening. I know this sounds silly, but I refuse to use tinned beans. I hate them. They’re generally insipid and too soft in contrast to home cooked beans which have a crisp skin, meaty firm texture inside and much more flavour. I normally have a stash in my freezer but I’ve just moved flat and haven’t built up my beany stash yet. I thought it might be time to get off my high horse and experiment, so I bought the best (and consequently most expensive) tinned black beans that I could find. They weren’t perfect for a purist annoyance like me, but even I had to concede that they were pretty good.

Roast Pork & Black Bean Chilli

This recipe was really simple and quick, the real joy in it came from the fresh spices, good tinned tomatoes (Italian La Fiammante for my money every time), and that delicious leftover pork. As with every rich dish with deep flavour, you need to add something to lift it, a handful of fresh coriander did the trick at the end. It’s a rarity, but there was leftover crackling on the pork, as it was such a big joint, and hungry horse that I am, there was only one of me to tackle it. I diced the pork into small chunks, keeping the crackling on, and it gave such wonderful textural contrasts that I would definitely recommend that you do the same.

As always, I definitely recommend that you roast and grind the spices yourself as they add so much to the dish, but you can use half the amount of ground instead. A note on the pork – use as much as you have, if you have a lot add extra tomatoes and/or stock. I normally use fresh chilli but didn’t have any, so substituted dried chilli flakes instead.

So, here’s the recipe. Purists avert your eyes. Everyone else: make it, you’ll love it. I think you will anyway!

Pork & Black Bean Chilli

Ingredients:

Diced leftover pork roast incl. fat and crackling if possible – I had about 400g
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp sugar
Dried chilli to taste
1 good tin black beans, drained
a handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves
some light flavourless oil for frying
S&P

Method:

Heat a frying pan with no oil until very hot, and dry fry the spices for 30 seconds or so, until the start to pop and release fragrance. Grind in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.

Fry the onion until soft and translucent in the same pain in about a tbsp of oil, add the spices and the garlic and fry for another minute or so.

Add the tomatoes, chilli and the sugar (important to balance the tinned omatoes), raise the heat until the sauce is bubbling, reduce and cook for a further ten minutes or so to allow the flavour to develop. Check both the sweetness and the heat and adjust to taste.

Add the pork and the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until the pork is warmed through. Depending on how much pork you’ve added you may need to add some stock or water. I didn’t add the pork earlier in the recipe as I wanted any remaining crackling to retain as much of its crunch as possible.

Add the coriander and season to taste. Serve immediately.

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Leftovers on toast

Leftovers on toast

Leftovers on toast

Wandering home weary after a long day, the thought of the kitchen can be quite dispiriting. Even for me, a person who loves spending time in that room eating and playing with ingredients. Today was one of the very rare days that I just didn’t have the energy and after a long day in the office, I was only fit for laziness, so, I invested in a block of nice goats cheese and some red wine, and on my journey home I resigned myself to a pleasant end of evening tucking into both.

But then, I got home, and on opening the fridge remembered something I threw together yesterday and had a bowl of stored in the fridge: a very quick pancetta, chorizo, chickpea and spinach stew. Ridiculously easy and quick, I sauteed about 60g each of pancetta and chorizo, added half a tin of chickpeas, and a couple of handfuls of spinach at the end. The joy when I spied that bowl, all I did was reheat it with a little cream for moisture and luxury and ate it on a couple of slices of toasted ciabatta. Toast! Ah toast. Really, there’s some days that you really can’t beat it and today is one for me.

I’m happy now. And I’m tucking into that cheese with a glass of that nice red wine :)