Tag Archives: beans

Pimped Baked Potatoes 2 Ways

Hands up who remembers those soggy baked potatoes with beans and plastic cheese in a polystyrene box that you got at school? We certainly do. This is a world away from that and one of the easiest meals ever to knock up, just whack a couple of potatoes in the oven, go and relax with a cup of tea and an episode of something, come back, spend about 15 minutes actually cooking and you’re done! There are two different ways to have them here, one is twice baked with bacon, onion and cheese and the other has the most delicious smoky, spicy baked beans and is topped with a bit of sour cream. These beans would be even more amazing with some avocado on top, we did have one but sadly it wasn’t ripe enough to use. This might not be one to impress your friends with but on a cold, miserable evening you really can’t beat this sort of comfort food.

Ingredients for two people

  • 2 large or 4 small potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 1-2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • Cheddar, grated (as much as you like!)
  • 1 heaped tsp of chipotle pasta
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • Sour cream and salad to serve

We’re sure you don’t need telling how to bake potatoes but prick them with a fork a few times, rub with olive oil and salt and bang them in a preheated oven at about 190ºC. Ours were fairly dinky and took just under an hour but if yours are bigger then have the oven slightly cooler and cook them for about an hour and a half. You could be cheaty and cook them in the microwave but if you do then please put them in the oven for 10 minutes at the end to let them get a little crisper, they’re too sad otherwise!

When the potatoes are not far off cooked whack the finely diced onion and bacon in a small pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the onions are really soft and slightly caramelised. Then tip half of this mixture into a bowl, leave the rest in the pan but take it off the heat for a moment. Take half of the potatoes out of the oven, cut in half and scoop out most of the flesh leaving just a little around the edge so the skins hold their shape. Put this in with the bacon and onion mixture in the bowl and add the cheddar, you can use as much or as little as you like, we only put a small handful as ours was very strong. Mix all of this together and then pile it back into the skins and grate a little extra cheese on top. Put these back into the oven on a baking tray just for ten minutes for the cheese to melt.

Empty potatoes

Cheesy potatoes full

Put the remaining bacon and onion mixture back on the heat and add in the chipotle paste. Using 1 heaped tsp made this fairly spicy so adjust to your taste. Cook this in for a few seconds then add the smoked paprika and the tin of beans. Let all of this heat together for around ten minutes while your cheesy twice-baked potatoes in the oven finish getting gorgeously gooey and then serve up! Pop a dollop of sour cream on top of the spicy beans to cool things down a bit and we had a salad dressed with a balsamic dressing.

Bacon, onion and chipotle

One of the easiest midweek meals, not the quickest, but minimal effort and so delicious!

Baked potatoes

Slow-Roast Pork Belly with Cider Gravy

Merry Christmas! We hope you’ve had a wonderful few days wherever you’ve spent it, we’ve been having a brilliant time stuffing our faces, playing board games, heading out for the odd walk and generally catching up with some lovely people. When you’re ready to face another indulgent meal we think this could be the perfect candidate, crispy slow-roasted pork belly served with celeriac mash, wilted kale, green beans and a rich cider gravy… delicious!

Remember when we made this pork adobo? We cut our piece of pork belly in half and chucked half in the freezer with a vague intention to roast it, and that’s exactly what we did! We served this on Bristmas (Bristol-Christmas) Eve – because we are visiting Fats’ family over Christmas we had our own special day to open presents that we couldn’t bring with us, including some brilliant wine from Bird’s parents – check it out on our Instagram. We’d never roasted pork belly before but after reading a few recipes online the general consensus was to stick it on a rack or some vegetables, put it in as hot as your oven will go and then turn down and slowly roast for hours until it practically falls apart but is topped with the most incredible crackling. To counteract the richness we served ours with some celeriac mash which is much lighter than using all potatoes, and some dark green vegetables, but we couldn’t resist making a gravy, it would have been a crime to waste everything left in the roasting dish!

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • A piece of pork belly, around 350g
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Roughly chopped vegetables, we used carrots, onion and a parsnip but celery would be good too – use anything you have lying around
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 300ml dry cider
  • 1 small/medium baking potato, peeled and roughly cubed
  • 300-400g celeriac, peeled and roughly cubed
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded kale, around 100-150g
  • Green beans, around 100g
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Boiling water – as much as you like to make the right consistency gravy

To start with you need to score the pork belly, to do this you need a really sharp knife so either make sure yours are sharp, use a craft knife (like a Stanley knife) or ask your butcher to do it. You can score either horizontally/vertically or cross-hatch like we did. Make sure you cut through the skin into the fatty part, but not too deep so you don’t cut into the meat. Preheat the oven to as hot as it will go (around 250°C). Pop the fennel seeds and sea salt into a pestle and mortar and crush together for a few seconds to break up the fennel seeds. Tip this onto the skin of the pork and rub in, making sure it gets into all of the score lines. Put the roughly chopped vegetables into a roasting dish, drizzle over the olive oil and place the pork on top, then pop in the oven when it’s come to temperature.

Pork Belly Before

After 10 minutes turn the oven right down to about 160-170°C. Our piece took around 2 hours from this point, you want the meat to be falling apart, so if you’re cooking for more people then add on some more time. The beauty of this is that it’s hard to overcook, it will stay beautifully moist as long as you don’t forget about it all day! Halfway through the cooking time (so after 1 hour for our piece) pour 200ml of the cider into the roasting dish. The vegetables should have started to caramelise so the cider will bubble around all of those bits and get all of the best flavour for your gravy! Don’t worry if you’re cooking this dish for children, all of the alcohol will burn off and just leave that gorgeous apple flavour.

Pork Belly Roasted

When your pork has about half an hour left you need to start cooking the celeriac and potato to make your mash, cube them, add to a large pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook until soft. Once they are cooked drain them well and then it’s time to take the pork out of the oven! This is where things will get a little bit hectic – you need to make your mash and keep it warm, keep the pork warm, cook your green vegetables and make some gravy… but if we can handle a busy 10 minutes over the stove then so can you! Take the pork out of the oven, take a few seconds to marvel at its crispy beauty and then lift it off the bed of vegetables into a warm plate or a wooden board and cover loosely with foil. Make the gravy first, that way it can bubble away while you get on with everything else. Sprinkle the plain flour over the vegetables, and then using a fork squash the vegetables down with the flour which will soak up all of the lovely flavour. If your roasting dish is ok to use on the hob then you can make it all in the dish but ours wasn’t so we then tipped all of the squashed-vegetable mix into a pan. Place over a low heat and once it’s nice and toasty pour in the remaining 100ml of cider, let this reduce almost completely and then stir in enough boiling water to get it to a slightly thinner consistency than you would like. Turn the heat right down and let this bubble away happily.

Pork Belly Gravy

We cooked our kale by wilting it in a wok with a little water, butter, salt, pepper and grated nutmeg and some green beans simply boiled, drained and then coated in a tiny bit of butter. Mash up your celeriac and potato making sure to go easy on the milk and butter as celeriac is more watery than potato so you’ll end up with soup if you’re not careful! If it does end up wetter than you would like you can easily remedy it by placing the pan over a very low heat and mashing/stirring continuously until it’s dried out slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

One hard-working hob!
One hard-working hob!

Plate up time! We warmed our plates in the oven for a minute while we finished off the gravy by straining it into a jug giving the vegetables an extra squash with a spoon in the sieve to get every bit of goodness out! Then just whack it all on a plate, you won’t have the agonising wait like we did while we took photos… tuck straight in! If you’ve got any cider left (we may or may not have bought a box) it’s lovely served with it. Ours may look like a fairly meagre portion but it’s so rich that you don’t need much, try this out for an alternative roast to impress your friends and family with!

Pork Belly Done

Chorizo, Kale and Bean Stew

After yesterdays slightly faffy (although totally worth it) post we’ve got a really simple chuck-it-all-in-the-pot-and-ignore it recipe now! This is also one that works with whatever you have in – we used chorizo, butter beans, courgettes, potatoes and kale but it would be lovely with different beans, spinach or cabbage instead of kale, sweet potatoes instead of new potatoes, peppers or aubergine instead of courgette… anything goes really. After a bit of chopping and about an hour of leaving it to do it’s own thing you’re rewarded with a rich, tasty stew to warm you up.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 50-100g chorizo, chopped into chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a large handful of new potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 courgettes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins of beans (we used butter beans and black eyed beans)
  • chicken stock
  • 200g shredded kale
  • crusty bread to serve

Put a large casserole dish on a medium heat on the hob and put the olive oil in to heat up. Once it’s hot add the chopped onion and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring gently. Once the onion is starting to soften add the chorizo and bay leaves and cook for a further 5 minutes, the smoky oil from the chorizo should come out and smell amazing.

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Add the potatoes and courgettes and cook for another few minutes until coated in the oil and the courgette is starting to soften. Then add the chopped tomatoes, the drained tins of beans and enough chicken stock to cover.

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Put a lid on it, turn the heat right down and let it simmer away for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 45 minutes whack the kale in, put the lid back on to help it wilt, then stir it in and cook for a further 10 minutes and that’s it, you’re done! Serve with some crusty wholemeal bread, the one pictured is a spelt and wholemeal loaf that we made using our basic bread recipe but using 200g of spelt flour, 200g of seeded wholemeal flour and 100g of strong white flour which produces a really nutty loaf, perfect with these strong autumnal flavours.

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