Pork & Beans
If I had to pick one meal to eat for the rest of my life it would be Ashleigh's Pork and Beans. This is my absolute favourite meal in the world and I get butterflies every time I smell the smoked pork and curry flavours, mixed with the heated flour scent that I know signals rotis, wafting down the hall.
The first time Ash made this for me she told me that she really loves this meal but she was not sure if it's something I would enjoy. She has never been so wrong. And that was just the first iteration of this bowl of heavenly goodness that is a centerpiece of our love. The initial version used a smoked pork fillet, sugar beans and had no tomatoes. Anyone who knows me well knows that once I've found a favourite thing I hate deviating from that version of it but Ash decided to ignore my cries for stability (thankfully) and innovated; the version we eat today uses a smoked pork shank (the bone adds so much flavour), butter beans (who doesn't love a bean) and a tin of tomato that increases the amount of sauce and also adds acidity to the curry making the flavour that much more wonderful and complex.
This is a dish that Ashleigh's grandmother made for her all the time growing up and is a staple in their family. It's become a running joke about how much I love this humble home dish but my shared love of it has been part of why I've felt so accepted into my new family. I hope you try it and develop a tradition around it of your very own.
4 cups of sugar beans
1 tin tomatoes
1 smoked shank (eisbein) about 500g with the bone
2 1/2 heaped teaspoons of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon on turmeric
2 bays leaves
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 stalk of leaves
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic and ginger
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Firstly, take the smoked pork shank and coat in olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper and roast for 1 hour in 180 degree preheated oven.
Once the shank is cooked, remove from the oven, let cool till you can touch it, and roughly cut into chunks leaving some on the bone.
In a deep pot, add the vegetable oil and heat over medium high heat.
Chop the onion and add to the pot - with the onions add the mustard seeds, bay leaves, curry leaves and some freshly cracked pepper this will roast the spices and releases their fragrances.
Next add the garlic and ginger and let cook for about 2 minutes
Add the remaining spices and let cook for 3-5 minutes before adding the tin tomatoes (this important , it helps with flavour development so do not skimp on this step).
Add in the pork chunks and mix until well coated in the onions and spice mixture
Add the beans and cover with 1.5 cups of water.
Lower the heat, cover and let cook for 2 hours. Check the pot every 15 to 30 minutes to makes sure it is not sticking to the bottom.
If its looking a bit dry add more water.
Season with teaspoon of salt at a time.
Serves with rice or with roti!
Happy eating x