Slow-cooked pork and braised beans: Chris Leach’s recipes for an Italian autumn | Food

Aubergine crostini

Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

1 whole head garlic
500g large black aubergines (ie, about 2), or 1 large purple one
1 lemon
2 large or 4 small slices
20g red miso
– we use this to add a savoury, umami kick to proceedings; if you prefer, use anchovy paste instead
1 t
sp onion seeds
1 handful
mixed soft fresh herbs – basil, mint, dill, etc, torn just before serving

Wrap the garlic head tightly in foil and roast in a 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 oven for 40 minutes to an hour, until soft. Remove and, when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the flesh from the papery skins into a small bowl.

Meanwhile, grill the aubergine(s), turning it (them) regularly, over coals, an open flame or under a grill for 10 minutes, until soft and blackened all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover, leave to steam for 10 minutes, then peel off and discard the skin and put the flesh in a medium bowl. Stir in a teaspoon of the roast garlic (save the rest for another use – the roast garlic puree is brilliant stirred into mashed potato, pasta sauces or mayo), then season with salt and lemon juice to taste.

Toast the sourdough slices, spread a thin layer of red miso over each one, then pile the aubergine mix on top. Sprinkle with the onion seeds, cover generously with the picked, torn herbs and serve.

Slow-cooked pork in apples and white wine

Prep 10 min
Cook 2 hr 30 min+
Serves 4

1.2kg pork braising joint – the best cut for this is the blade from the shoulder, on the bone and skinned
3 apples
, quartered and cores cut out
3 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
1 whole garlic head, cut in half horizontally
1 large sprig fresh thyme
750ml dry white wine, such as trebbiano

Season the meat with salt and lay it fat side down in a large dry frying pan or casserole on a low heat. Leave to cook for eight to 10 minutes, so the fat slowly renders out and the meat takes on a nice, golden colour, then turn and sear the rest of the joint. Lift the meat out of the pan and tip off some, but not all, of the fat.

In the same pan, fry the apple quarters, sliced shallots, garlic and thyme on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until gently caramelised. Add the wine, bring to a boil and reduce by half.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Return the pork to the casserole, cover with a tight-fitting lid and/or foil and roast for two to three hours, until the meat is very tender.

Take out the meat, rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve with the shallot and apple sauce, which should by now have collapsed and reduced into a thick, chunky gravy.

Braised borlotti with grilled radicchio

Prep 10 min
Soak Overnight
Cook 1 hr+
Serves 4

250g dried borlotti beans
1 carrot
, peeled and cut into very large chunks
1 shallot, unpeeled, cut in half
1 large stick celery, cut in half
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
50ml olive oil
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 splash
red-wine vinegar

Soak the beans overnight in cold water, then drain, put in a large pot and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, cook for two minutes, then drain again. Replace with fresh water to cover the beans, and add the carrot, shallot, celery, garlic, chilli and olive oil to the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a very gentle simmer and leave to cook for anything from 45 minutes to two hours, until the beans and vegetables are soft (the timing will vary depending on how old the dried beans are).

Drain, reserving half the cooking liquor, then tip the bean mix on to a tray and pick out the carrot, onion, celery and garlic (don’t worry if a few beans join the party). Blitz the stewed vegetables to a paste, then fold back into the beans; if the mix seems a little dry, stir in some of the reserved cooking liquor, to loosen. Season with salt to taste and set aside.

Cut the radicchio into quarters and separate the leaves. Grill, griddle or roast the leaves for two to three minutes, until wilted. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make a dressing by whisking the extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar, then pour this over the cooked radicchio and toss.

Spoon the beans on to a platter, top with the grilled leaves and serve at room temperature.

Chris Leach is chef/co-founder of Manteca, which opens its first permanent site in London EC2 on 16 November.



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