Cassoulet - the ultimate comfort dish, with duck and pork. Pork belly provided the fat, a little bacon a little smokiness; and I sprinkled breadcrumbs over the casserole as well as the serving bowls.
Tinned chickpeas dry roasted in a pan, with pancetta, a red pepper and Parmesan shavings. Chickpeas are actually a tasty snack, not difficult to make. They just need a bit of oomph – raid your spice cupboard and anything red or yellow will do.
Slow cooked chili con carne with beef and red and white beans. This is one hell of a contentious dish. First off, the name is wrong: purists call it just chili. Second, the provenience.
Crispy spicy roasted chickpeas with red peppers and mushrooms. Chickpeas are funny little things - they look nothing like peas to start with but more like little nuts. Why aren’t they called chicknuts?
Lentils and spicy chorizo casserole with fresh tomatoes. Spicy, hearty, tomatoey and earthy with cheese on top – a perfect autumnal dish you might say, except it tastes as good all year round.
Lentils baked with porcini mushrooms, red peppers and spinach. I insist – use porcini in this recipe. Since it is next to impossible to get hold of the fresh porcini or ceps in England the dried ones will do, even better...
Vegetarian chili with pickled red onions. The recipe is dead simple beside that, and a good weekday supper if you put in canned beans. Soaking and boiling is as much worth the bother as it gives you the right crookedness – tinned beans might get mushy after half an hour in the company of tomatoes.
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