Pork stew

NOTE: If you are using dried butterbeans, you will have to soak them overnight. You can add any vegetable you have to this stew according to what’s in season (courgettes, carrots, aubergines, etc.).

NOTE: You should only start timing the stew once the pressure cooker has reached pressure.

INGREDIENTS (serves 6):
pork ribs, cut into pieces
4 or 5 medium potatoes: 2 grated, 3 cut into chunks
250g dried butter beans, soaked overnight
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic
2 green peppers, roughly chopped
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
a pinch of chilli pepper
olive oil
salt and pepper
stock or water

Heat some oil in a large pressure cooker and fry first the onions, then the green peppers and then your other vegetables until soft. Add the tomatoes and fry for another couple of minutes and before adding the pork and potatoes. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.

Cover well with water and bring to the boil. You will probably need about 1.2 – 1.5 litres of water/stock. The beans will absorb some of the water so it is important that you have enough liquid in the pan. If you bring the mixture to the boil before putting on the lid, you can see whether you need to any more liquid. Generally speaking, there needs to be about an inch of liquid above the level of the stew.

Cover the pan with the lid, engage the mechanism and bring to pressure.

Once the pan has reached pressure, cook for 30 minutes before turning off the gas.

You can either let it return to normal pressure or run it under the cold tap to lower the pressure quickly.

DO NOT OPEN THE LID UNTIL THERE IS NO LONGER ANY STEAM COMING FROM THE PAN.

White bean and potato stew: potaje de alubias blancas y patatas

One of the best things about Spain are the stews that cooks and chefs prepare. Each region has its speciality and while Madrid is famous for its cocido, Asturias has its fabada. This is one of my favourite types of dishes and a good substantial meal in itself in the winter months.

We ate this round at our neighbour’s house and I tried to replicate it a while later.

INGREDIENTS:
250g white beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, chopped
4 medium potatoes
green peppers, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely
leeks
a ham bone
a white knuckle bone
2 bay leaves
chorizo, sliced

Fry the green pepper in some oil in the pressure cooker until soft. Add the onion and leeks and fry for a further couple of minutes before adding the tomato.

Add the remaining ingredients and cover with plenty of water. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Close the lid and bring the pan up to pressure. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and boil for a further 10 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly.

Storing Ham

storing cured ham

Storing cured ham

I’ve been experimenting with ways of storing our ham shoulder which we cured from the pig. We don’t eat it all that often so it’s important to find a way of keeping it moist, mould-free and away from the flies. 

Once I’ve cut off any ham that I need, I smear the exposed surface with olive oil. I then fold some sheets of kitchen roll over before wrapping in two square of gauze or muslin, the first one way and the second, the other.

Storing a shoulder of ham

Storing a shoulder of ham

Fried Chicken Blood

Fried Chicken Blood

Fried Chicken Blood

It was only last Sunday that I learnt how to fry chicken blood to serve as a tapa. Before then, I had always given it to the neighbour’s dog – but not any more. Sorry dog.

When you kill the chicken and cut the neck, drain the blood onto a plate with a sprinkling of salt. Once the blood has congealed, sprinkle a bit more salt on top and cut into squares.

Fried Chicken Blood

Fried Chicken Blood

Get 5 or so large cloves of garlic and cut into thick slices, skin and all. Fry gently in a frying pan until golden.

Fried Chicken Blood
Fried Chicken Blood

Gently add the blood squared and fry until they have puffed up. It is important not to fry them for too long or they will taste like rubber.

The blood has completely different taste to what you might expect and tastes more like egg yolk.

Pour the contents of the pan into a shallow bowl and serve with small chunks of bread.

Chicken Soup: Sopa de Pollo

chicken soup

Chicken Soup

We needed to kill a couple of the male, incubated chickens and so we decided to make a soup with the giblets (heart, lung, kidneys), necks, chicken bones, gizzard, feet, etc.

We boiled the chicken bits and one of our pork bones in plenty of water and with some salt.

The stock was simmered for about 45 minutes and then left until we needed it in the evening.

In the evening, we reheated it, adding fine pasta. I added the finely chopped yolks of 4 hard-boiled eggs. Shortly before serving, I added the chopped white and made some croutons.