A few years ago we visited the Basque region which straddles the South Western French and Spanish borders but although we went into Spain we spent most of our time in France. One French place we visited was Espelette, home of the famous pepper Piment d’Espelette (Espelette pepper), some of which I brought back from holiday. I am always looking for ways to use some of this mild dried pepper mixture. Not long ago I was directed to another post about Piment d’Espelette by London Eats, when it was used as an ingredient in a Spicy Mixed Bean Stew. I now know I am not the only person (in London too) with a jar of this delicious pepper looking for suitable recipes!
Back in November I came across a quick and easy recipe called Spanish Gammon Hotpot from The Vicar’s Wife. (Just a few weeks ago I re-posted her wonderful recipe for Whole Orange Cake.) The word hotpot, however, is a bit too English for me and reminiscent of Lancashire Hotpot, which is something entirely different, so I have renamed it. Amanda (the Vicar’s Wife) suggested that it was an adaptable recipe, so that is just what I did. I am not a great fan of baked beans, though I admit they have their uses, instead using a chick peas plus some mushrooms and garlic. (Amanda suggests haricot or cannellini beans as alternatives.) For the meat content I used a thick bacon steak, but it could just as well be diced bacon or the leftovers from a piece of gammon, or even chunks of lean belly pork, plus some Chorizo sausage added for extra Spanish authenticity. As well as the smoked paprika I included a small amount of the piment d’Espelette for a little extra heat. I liked the idea of adding olives – rather sadly I am the only person in our house who likes them – and had intended to do so, but forgot. There will, however, be a next time. The meal was served with crusty bread and green salad. This speedy supper is definitely a meal for my ‘make in 30 minutes max’ category.
Spanish Style Gammon Stew
1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
8ozs chopped bacon or leftover ham/gammon
25g/1oz piece chorizo sausage
50g/2ozs button mushrooms
1 x 400g tin tomatoes, slightly chopped
1 x 400g tin chick peas (originally baked beans)
½-1tsp piment d’Espelette or dried chilli to taste (optional)
1tsp smoked paprika
12-15 stoned halved black or green olives (optional)
Salt/black pepper to taste
1. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms.
2. If using cooked meat reserve it until later, but uncooked bacon should be added now. Mix in well and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the chopped pepper, tomatoes and chick peas (or other beans) along with the piment d’espelette and smoked paprika. Cover with a little water.
4. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the peppers have softened.
5. Serve with rice or crusty bread and a green salad.