It's tough to get blogging again after a long break. Like starting a new sketch book or lyrics book.
The first one has to be good, memorable.
I cooked this stew last night, on the night before starting my new job. It is a hearty broth, warming and fulfilling. The cooking mojo was with me and I winged the ingredients and the method. The ingredients were mostly from Lidl and cost me very little and we had enough to last 2 nights (3 for non-gannets, probably.)
1 pack of pork shoulder steaks (about £2.80)
1 tin of red kidney beans
1 tin of baked beans
1 tin of butter beans
1 handful of red lentils
1 pork stock cube
1 red onion
2 sticks of celery
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
Fresh thyme, mint, oregano (whatever herbs you have, fresh is best)
Slice the pork into large chunks. Keep on any soft fat.
Fry in sunflower/veg oil on a high heat, just to brown the outside. Fry in batches to avoid boiling the meat.
Finely chop the onion and celery and fry in the same pan as you used to brown the meat.
Add garlic powder and fry for another 30 seconds. Don't worry if the bottom of the pan appears to be quite dark at this stage - the flavours here will really flavour the stew.
Add a drizzle of boiling water and put the lid on the pan. This will de-glaze the pan and further soften the veg.
In a jug add the stock cube, the bay leaf and herbs and 300ml of boiling water.
Drain the can of butter beans and rinse the sauce off the baked beans (you can use cannellini beans or rosecoco instead but I was going with what they had in Lidl!)
Tip the drained beans and the kidney beans in their juices into the pan. Swirl a little hot water around the tin of kidney beans and add to the pan to make sure you get all those lovely juices.
Add the stock with herbs.
Add the lentils. The liquid should cover everything in the pan, if not, add more. Stir.
Bring pan to the boil.
Reduce the heat to the minimum setting.
Add the pork.
Leave to cook for 2.5 hours (or longer if you can bear it!), stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed.
The meat should be soft and the sauce thick and 'creamy'.