Pork and Beans II


One of my earliest recipes on the blog was this one for an Indian-style stew of pork and beans. Five years later, here is another. It is a simpler preparation than the previous but no less delicious. There are a number of similarities. Both use large white beans from Rancho Gordo. The first uses the very popular Royal Corona bean, this one uses the Large White Lima. The Large White Lima is a very underrated bean, in my opinion, if somewhat in the Royal Corona’s sizable shadow (I don’t mean to set up a Royal Corona backlash on account of its namesake.) You set the beans to cook simply with water and while they’re getting done you prepare the pork. When both are done, you add the pork to the beans, stir, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or so to let the flavours meld. You’re basically adding the pork as a sort of tadka to the beans. The pork itself in this recipe is made very simply, with very few ingredients, as a dry’ish curry. The combination of the pork and beans, however, is anything but basic: the flavour is complex and rich; and the whole is highly comforting. That’s a good thing at any time but especially in these times. Give it a go: you won’t regret it.

Ingredients

For the beans

  • 1 lb/pkt Rancho Gordo Large White Lima beans, rinsed
  • Enough water to cover the beans in your bean pot by a few inches

For the pork

  • 1 lb pork, not too fatty, cubed
  • 1.5 cups diced red onion
  • 1 tblspn crushed garlic
  • 3/4 tblspn crushed ginger
  • 1 tspn turmeric powder
  • The following ground to a coarse powder: 1 tblspn cumin seeds, 1 tblspn coriander seeds, 5 dried red chillies
  • 3 tblspns black vinegar (or sherry or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tspn powdered jaggery or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tblspns chopped cilantro for garnish

Preparation

  1. Set the rinsed beans in your bean pot of choice, cover with a few inches of water and bring to a boil. Let the beans boil hard for 10 minutes of so. Then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook the beans till done (replenishing water to cover by a few inches if necessary as you go).
  2. While the beans are cooking prepare the pork:
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the diced onion and saute for 5 minutes or so till beginning to brown.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute till the raw smell disappears.
  5. Add all the powdered spices and saute for 30 seconds or so.
  6. Add the cubed pork, the vinegar, salt and sugar and mix in thoroughly.
  7. Add the water, bring the pan to a high simmer for a few minutes and then reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook till the pork is tender but not falling apart. Check a few times to make sure the gravy isn’t drying out too much and the pork isn’t sticking. If so, add a bit more water and mix in. At the end there should be a thick gravy/sauce coating the pork.
  8. Add the contents of the pan to the bean pot, mix in thoroughly, cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and serve in bowls.

Notes

  1. The final consistency should be easily pourable but not too thin and certainly not watery. If there’s too much pot liquor from the beans just simmer uncovered after adding the pork to cook it down a bit.
  2. You want to use a fair bit of salt with the pork as you need to account for the beans as well.
  3. I don’t soak my Large White Limas. My experience has always been that they cook remarkably fast. When I made this yesterday they were at a perfect al dente texture in less than an hour. If not using Rancho Gordo beans this may not be your experience.
  4. If using canned beans (if you must) rinse and add them to the finished pork along with enough chicken stock to arrive at the correct consistency when done (5 cups?).
  5. I use five hot dried Indian red chillies in this recipe. Chile de arbol would probably be the best substitution if you don’t have an Indian grocery near you. Resist the temptation to add all kinds of other spices to the mix.
  6. Chinese black vinegar is my favourite for Indian pork dishes but any sweet vinegar will do. And if you don’t have any just go with apple cider vinegar.
  7. You could serve this with hot tortillas or chapatis but we really enjoyed it straight out of the bowl with sauteed bitter greens on the side.
  8. If you want to make a vegetarian version you could try subbing cubed butternut squash for the pork. Follow the rest of the recipe but be careful not to let the squash get mushy as it cooks.
  9. And if you want to make just the pork as a simple stand-alone curry, you can. It will be very tasty—but up the meat in the recipe to 1.5-2 lbs, leaving everything else the same. In this recipe the meat is somewhat over-spiced in order to account for the blander beans.

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