Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Recipe CVI - Pork Belly Stew with Honey and Beans

How do you know when a recipe is fully rounded or not? When you have adapted it three or four times to reach the right flavour and ingredients. This recipe will take some time before it reaches its roundedness, but here is a good base from which to adapt. It is extraordinarily simple to make and your house will smell utterly delicious for hours.

Ingredients (for four people):
A medium-sized ceramic or cast iron casserole dish with a lid
Some butter for frying
500g sliced pork belly, cut into strips or left whole - your choice
4 potatoes
4 large cloves of garlic
1 onion
A cup of broad beans (but chick peas, lentils or something similar will also do)
A cup of yellow peas*
A bouquet garni (fresh herbs - sage, rosemary, thyme, etc...)
Some coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of honey
Salt and water

*fresh yellow peas are rock hard and you should either leave them to soak in water overnight before you use them, or you should cook them for at the very least 2 hours. I chose the latter, as it fit the recipe.

Switch the oven on to about 170°C. Put 2 of the garlic cloves in some butter and allow it to brown. Then remove the garlic from the oil. This will give your casserole a hint of garlic without overpowering it.

Then add the pork with a dusting of salt. Brown it until sealed, then add the black pepper, onion, the rest of the garlic and bouquet garni.

Give it a stir, allow the onion to sweat a little, then put in the yellow peas, broad beans, potatoes and honey. Give it a very good mixing so the yellow peas sink to the bottom. Add water until almost to the level of the ingredients, a good shake of the salt pot and bring it to the boil.

You can then put it into the oven. Give it a minimum of 2 hours, keep trying the yellow peas as they will be the last to be ready. Everything else will be so succulent and moist, and should have a prevailing taste of honey without being overbearing.

Take it out of the oven every 30-45 minutes to fill up with water and to add a sprinkle of salt.

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