Friday, 1 February 2013

A stew in 30 minutes: Celeriac, bacon and beans with pork

I struggled with what I should call this dish. The word 'stew' usually brings up memories of Mum sticking something in the oven before church, and getting it out when arriving home (cue chorus of "oh no, not STEW again..." - we were ungrateful little sods.) I also think it's one of those things you 'grow into', like eating olives, drinking red wine and liking blue cheese. Now I'm old and boring, I actually find a stew rather comforting and filling in these wintery times, but not so easy to achieve on a work night if one wants to eat before bedtime, especially when you're not home until 7pm...

Until now. Excitingly, I have discovered a way of making a stew which only taken 30 minutes. And, unlike Jamie Oliver's '30 minute meals', where you need a sous chef to have prepared and chopped everything beforehand plus a shiny TV kitchen and cameras to make it look amazing, this actually only did take 30 minutes, from start to finish. So there.

Ok, so it's slightly cheating to pan-fry the pork at the end, but to be honest you don't even need it - it's only because George gets dead grumpy if he doesn't have a nice bit of meat in his dinner. The real trick here is to replace potatoes with celeriac (which cooks quickly), fry everything with bacon to give the stew the earthy taste associated with slow-cooked meat, and use the water from the tinned kidney beans plus chopped fresh tomatoes to thicken the sauce. So, here goes:

Celeriac, bacon and bean stew with pan-fried pork

Pig vs Savoy Cabbage... The pig won the fight

This recipe will serve 4 people, or 2 hungry people with leftovers for lunch. It's got quite a chili kick to it so if you would rather, leave the chili out!

1. Roughly chop 1 onion, 4 rashers of bacon, 2 cloves of garlic and a chili, and saute in olive oil for 3 minutes with a tsp each of cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. 
2. Chop a celeriac into bite-sized pieces. Add to the mixture and cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Chop 3 big tomatoes and add to the mixture. Give them a minute to warm up, and then add a tin of kidney beans plus the water they are in.
4. Add 1/2 a litre of hot water, season generously and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't worry if it looks a bit too watery, you'll need it for the cabbage at the end.
5. Pan-fry (or grill if you're being healthy) 1 pork chop per person - it should take around 5 minutes on each side. Pork is cooked when it's white and the juice runs clear. I wasn't being healthy so seasoned liberally and pan-fried mine in butter on a medium heat, with a stick of fresh rosemary thrown in. The rosemary infuses into the butter so that when you turn the chops over, they are cooking in herby butter. YUM.
6. Chop half a savoy cabbage into thin strips and add to the stew for the final 5 minutes.

I served mine with the pork cut into strips and piled on top - at 7.30pm, which meant time to watch a whole episode of Midsomer Murders before going to bed with a cup of tea. Old and boring? Never...

1 comment:

  1. I love the fact that you take a cup of tea to bed with you. This marks you out as truly my daughter. (Not that I was in any doubt ...)