Friday, 10 April 2009

finger lickin' good

Once again Wednesday saw our little flat full of lovely people. I'm working at home for a couple of weeks so had a little more time than usual to slow cook something for ≤ten. I've been cooking slightly middle eastern and asian food a lot lately, so I turned back to Leon for a bit of new inspiration. As usual, Allegra McEveady didn't disappoint and we ended up with ribs, beans and rice.

I'll confess to being a little obsessed with the latest Leon cookbook. Their fondness for food that tastes good and is good for you fits in with my own. I like a bit of hearty comfort food as much as anyone else, but eating until you're uncomfortably full saps your energy and just makes you want to sleep. I want to feed people things that make them feel good.

On to the food, this managed seven of us comfortably.

Leon 'Love Me Tender' Ribs

2kg pork ribs
6 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1 heaped tsp chipolte chilli powder or ordinary chilli powder (I used ordinary)
8 tbsp honey
12 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Chinese five spice

Put all the ingredients, except the salt into a bowl and add the ribs, moving them around until they are coated. Leave to marinate overnight.

Next day, season the ribs well with sea salt and put them in a smallish shallow roasting tray (or two!) and add water until it comes half way up the ribs, taking care not to pour it directly over the meat.

Cover with a lid or foil and cook in the oven at 120 degrees C / 250 degrees F / gas mark 9 for around 5 hours. Check on the every couple of hours or so, turning them over. You shouldn't need any more water, but if you do just add a little bit at a time. You can do this bit up to a couple of days in advance and keep the ribs in the fridge until you want to cook them fully.

Take the ribs out the oven while you heat it right up to 240 degrees C / 475 degrees F / gas mark 9. Cook for 15 minutes-ish, give a couple of rolls around in the sauce and sprinkle on the sea salt.

Leon's 'Hippy Farm Beans'

Olive oil
1 large aubergine cut into rough chunks
ground cumin
1 1/2 onions, roughly chopped
5 big cloves garlic roughly chopped
4 firey chillies, more if you like, roughly chopped
500g cherry tomatoes
2 tins chopped tomatoes
3 tins of beans - I used kidney beans, pinto beans and borlotti
apparently the 'secret twist' is Linghams Garlic and Chilli Sauce which you can get from Tesco and Waitrose ... I used sweet chilli sauce
300g fresh baby spinach washed

Heat plenty of oil in a pan and fry the aubergines and peppers for 15 minutes until golden crisp and lovely. Season with salt and cumin, then take them out, cover and put to one side.

Get the pan good and hot again. Fry the onion in a bit more olive oil for a few minutes (brown it), then the garlic and chillies. Few more minutes, hot. Then add the cherry tomatoes. Few minutes. Then add the tinned tomatoes and the aubergines and peppers.

Bring to the boil and add the drained beans. Now add a good glug of the sauce. Low heat, simmer covered for half an hour, uncover for a further hour; stir regularly. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach well until wilted.

We had this with fresh baby avocados, creme fraiche (because we didn't have any sour cream), lime wedges and brown rice. Tex mex magic.

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