Bacon 'n' beans

BY PATRICIA SOPER
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2009
PATRICIA SOPER
ONE-POT WONDER: Flavoursome, nutritious food cooked in happy alliance on the stovetop is a boon for the cook and an even greater delight for those who do the washing-up. Today's recipe has both advantages and the results will satisfy the pickiest eater.

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I would like to say that the weather has given us all a lust for salad greens, which is my usual dietary reaction after emerging from what is quaintly referred to as the "colder weather".

But of late my salads are on hold as I, along with most of Southland, do battle with cold temperatures and even colder winds. Something warm and satisfying is still the order of the day, but most of us are tired of root vegetables, which start to wane in quality about now.

Yet dinner still has to be presented and trying to muster enthusiasm for something creative is taxing as outdoor chores become more demanding.

One-pot cookery is a relatively new concept for me. I own a slow cooker, which I tend to use for meat, but more and more I opt for a large, heavy-bottomed, glass-lidded pan on the stovetop for my concoctions, most of which provide carbs and vegetables in one hit.

Bacon and beans are a classic combination; when cooked with wine and paprika they take on a different flavour and, dare I say, sophistication.

If you can't get thickly sliced bacon or a meaty bacon end, use standard sliced bacon cut into large pieces.

On the subject of paprika I can only speak from my own experience. I use the La Chinata brand, which holds its delicious, smoky flavour and rich colour even after long cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed bacon
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 sliced leek (include most of the green top)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tin cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 tin Moroccan tomatoes
  • 1 tin whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 sliced red capsicum
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine (more if necessary)

Method: Heat a dash of oil in a deep frying pan or equivalent.

Add cubed bacon and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook a little longer.

Add the sliced leek, carrots and capsicum and stir.wAdd both tins of tomatoes and the beans. Add the chilli flakes, vinegar and red wine.

Season to taste.

Simmer for at least 30 minutes, adding a little water if necessary.

Serve with any grilled meat or on its own with good bread.

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- The Southland Times

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