A true one-pot wonder, this simple Spanish inspired casserole is big on flavour and refreshingly light on effort. Other than the initial stages of browning the ingredients, this dish pretty much takes care of itself and rewards with a tasty family friendly meal that can be adapted to cater to almost all tastes and preferences.
Now I have to be honest, this wonderful casserole is about as Spanish as chow mien is Chinese or California rolls are Japanese, but these days cultural authenticity is hardly an impediment to being the poster child of world cuisine. The modern maxim seems to be, “If a dish tastes good, who cares?” and rightfully so. After all, when the results are this tasty, I’m all about the muddled.
So whilst only vaguely Spanish, this simple dish is nevertheless brimming with classic Iberian flavours and, for a change, all the ingredients are perennial pantry staples. Admittedly I take it for granted that my larder resembles an over-stocked cornucopia of random ingredients, but this isn’t the sort of dish that calls for long forgotten packets of shrimp paste, bamboo leaves and jellyfish (yes, I do actually have the latter lurking in the depths of my fridge!). I digress, however.
Thankfully, significantly less exotic pantry staples are required for this dish, namely tins of butter-beans, chopped tomatoes, chorizo and smoked paprika. Admittedly smoked paprika isn’t necessarily a staple pantry item, but is readily available at most supermarkets or it can be substituted with regular paprika and a pinch of chilli powder or flakes. You can also use chickpeas instead of the butter beans and the fennel seeds can be omitted if you don’t have any…like I said, this recipe is nothing if not adaptable.
Note: As with most stews and casseroles, this dish will be all the better from a night chilling in the fridge.
Spanish Pork Casserole with Chorizo & Butter Beans: Serves 4
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 800g boneless pork shoulder or skinless pork belly, cut into chunks
- 100g cooking chorizo, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 peeled carrot, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 2 tsp. hot smoked paprika (or plain paprika plus a small pinch of dried chilli flakes)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. tomato purée
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
- Flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
- Heat the oil in a casserole dish over a medium/high heat
- Season the meat with salt and pepper and then, in batches, brown the pork on all sides – it is important not to overcrowd the pan. Once all the meat is browned, set to one side
- Add the sliced chorizo and fry for a couple of minutes, allowing the sausage time to release some of its flavour and brown slightly
- Add the diced carrot and onions, sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the fennel seeds, smoked paprika (or alternative), garlic and bay leaves, sauté for a another couple of minutes
- Add the sugar and tomato purée, followed by the vinegar. Stir and allow everything to bubble for a moment or so
- Add the tomatoes, fill the empty tin with water and add that too
- Return pork to the pot and season with salt and pepper
- Bring to the boil and reduce to a steady simmer. Partially cover the pot with a lid and cook gently for about an hour and a half. Stir occasionally and top up with some water if it starts to dry out too much
- Add the butter beans, stir and continue simmering for another 15 to 20 minutes
- Taste for seasoning and garnish with finely chopped parsley just before serving
Serve with…just about anything! I love this with some griddled bread and a light salad, but it can be eaten on its own, with mash, rice or even some sautéd kale.