Ribs and Beans
There’s a grand misunderstanding about the difference between how long you have to cook for and how long it takes to cook. This dish takes a while from start to finish, but with little time input from the cook; it’s the meat that does the work, not you. Bang-it-in-theoven-and-walk-away cooking is the way forward for those who like flavour on a budget. It’s one of my favourite ways of cooking and eating, especially as it’s leaning towards finger food – it’s good to get involved with your supper.
When buying the ribs, you want the little pieces for this, so either buy short ribs or ask your butcher to cut the long ones into thirds, or do it yourself at home, which is easy but requires a proper big chef’s knife or cleaver.
|For the marinade:|
|2||red chillies, finely chopped|
|5 cloves||of garlic, finely chopped|
|½ tsp||smoked paprika|
|extra-virgin olive oil|
|For the ribs and beans:|
|600g||pork belly, either one piece or 4 thick slices|
|1||large red onion, peeled and cut into large dice|
|2||carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm slices|
|2 x 400g||tins beans (haricot, borlotti or chickpeas)|
|2||peppers, ideally 1 red and 1 green, deseeded and cut into 2–3cm chunks|
|1 x 400g tin||of chopped tomatoes|
|3 tbsp||red wine or sherry vinegar|
|salt and pepper|
|extra-virgin olive oil|
In a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the marinade together with a healthy sprinkling of salt and a couple of tablespoons of the extra-virgin. Coat the short rib bits in it well. Cut the pork belly into similar-sized pieces to the ribs, chuck them in and give them a good roll around, then leave to marinate for as long as possible.
Turn your oven on to 240°C/220°C fan/gas mark 9. Pack the porky bits into a roasting tray with the onion and carrots. Roast for 40 minutes, turning once, until they are nicely browned all over. Turn the oven down to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
Drain the beans and tip them into the tray with the meat. Add all the remaining ingredients including 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Season with a couple of hefty grabs of salt and lots of cracked pepper.
Give it all a good stir, making sure the rib nuggets are mostly under the level of the stock, then bake in the oven for about an hour with a bit of foil tight on top. By now the meat should be pretty tender, so take the foil off and give it a last 15 minutes, just to brown the top a little. Finish with a last splosh of really good
extra-virgin, serve in bowls and eat with crusty bread.