3 August 2014

Italian Slow Roasted Pork & Beans

To put it simply, this is an incredible dish. Just amazing. It is hearty, satisfying and so full of flavour you'll wonder why you've been eating pork any other way. What makes it stand above other slow-roast or stewed dishes is that for all its hearty-ness and deep colour, it is fresh and light.

Its cheap too: cheap cut of pork, things from tins, and nothing unfamiliar. I found this recipe in the free Coles magazine of all places  and now I always grab a copy - I've discovered a few hidden gems.

This is exactly what I want to eat on a cold Sunday night. The oven being on all day is the perfect excuse not to have to do anything, and just enjoy a leisurely day.

  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5kg boneless pork shoulder/forequarter 
  • 100g bacon/speck, diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tins crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tins cannellini beans (or other white bean)
  • 2 tsbp parsley, chopped
Preheat your oven to 180C (or 160C fan-forced).

In a baking dish that can go be used on the stovetop and in the oven (I used a cast iron casserole), heat the oil. Season the pork and brown well on each side. Transfer to a plate. You can remove the rind if you like for crackling, but this may mean you need to re-tie your pork roll. If you do, leave a generous layer of fat as this is important for keeping it moist while cooking.

In the same dish, cook the bacon, onion and garlic until caramelised. Add the tomatoes, stock and wine. Bring to the boil. Sprinkle the pork with the spices and add to the baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and and roast for 2-3 hours (basting occasionally) until the pork is tender and falls apart easily. Shred the pork and return the baking dish to the stovetop. Add the beans, and cook until heated through. The sauce should also be nice and thick by this point, but if it is too thick add more stock to loosen it.

Sprinkle with parsley, and serve with steamed leafy greens like spinach or kale and warmed bread rolls.