Pinto beans, peppers, tomato, rosemary and chilli casserole

Pinto beans

Serves 4

This is another fantastic vegetarian and vegan dish. Don’t skimp on the rosemary or chilli as they give the dish its robust character.

250g dried pinto beans, covered in water and soaked overnight
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 sweet peppers – 1 each of red, yellow and orange – deseeded and sliced
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 rounded tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
A generous handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp cayenne
100g black olives, stoned

Drain and wash the beans. Place them in a large saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender, approx. 1 hour. Drain, reserving 300ml of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide based pan and sauté the onions until softened, approx. 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the peppers and continue to cook until they start to soften, about 7 minutes. Stir in all of the other ingredients (don’t forget the beans and their reserved cooking liquid) except the olives. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

At this stage the dish can be cooled and stored in the fridge until needed.

To finish the dish, bring it back to a simmer. Taste it and adjust the seasoning adding salt, pepper, cayenne and vinegar as necessary. Stir in the olives and heat through.

I like to serve this dish with boiled white long grain rice or baked sweet potatoes.

Simple Pork Vindaloo

Pork Vindaloo lr

Serves a hungry 4

In my last post I talked about all things slow cooker. So, as you might expect, here is another slow cooker recipe.

This is possibly the easiest recipe I have ever published. It shows that you don’t need to slave in the kitchen to serve up fabulously tasty food.

I recently published a recipe for a simple pork curry cooked in a slow cooker. This is a very similar dish, but even easier! It really does show that with the right basic techniques you can make a fantastic curry very simply using shop bought ingredients. This is where a slow cooker shows its mettle. The results are delicious.

I use Patak’s vindaloo spice paste, simply because that is the brand that my local supermarket stocks but I’m sure other brands may work just as well.

Be careful not to add too much salt at the start. Shop-bought spice pastes are quite salty to start with. You can always add more salt later but you can’t take it away!

My slow cooker has three settings – low, medium and high. I find I get the best results if I start it off on medium for one hour and then turn the heat down to low for the rest of the cooking time. If you don’t have a medium setting, just cook it on low from the start.

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5kg pork neck (or shoulder), trimmed and cubed (I get my butcher to do this for me)
3 onions, sliced
2 tsp minced garlic (from a shop bought jar)
2 tsp minced ginger (from a shop bought jar)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 x 283g jar of Patak’s Vindaloo Spice Paste
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (I use Mutti pulped tomatoes)
1 chicken stock cube dissolved in a little boiling water
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons (at least) of red wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a wide based pan then brown the pork in batches, using a slotted spoon to remove each batch to a bowl once it is browned. Once all the pork has been browned, add a little more oil to the pan if needs be then slowly soften and brown the onions, approx. 20 minutes. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the black pepper and vindaloo spice paste and stir fry for another minute, making sure the mixture doesn’t catch.

Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, stock and salt and bring to a simmer. Return the pork to the pan and bring it all up to a gentle simmer.

Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. At the end of that time you may find a lot of oil has risen to the surface (the amount will depend on how fatty your pork was). Skim off and discard the oil, then give everything a good stir. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning adding salt if needs be. Stir in the red wine vinegar.

If the sauce is too runny, turn the heat on your slow cooker up to high and continue to cook uncovered until it has reduced sufficiently. I find this generally takes about an hour. Once the sauce is the right consistency, put the lid back on the slow cooker, turn the heat down to low and leave it to continue cooking until you are ready to serve. I typically cook this dish for about 10 hours in all.