Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Yes, I am sure people think I am mad that I cook on holiday. Holidays are the time when you disengage and let everybody else take the strain. Well, because I am obviously deranged, cooking is part of it all when I am away. I love mooching around the markets and supermarkets and seeing what I can make. The quality of produce is something that we can only dream of in the supermarkets in this country, but then I am not offended by a misshapen tomato; it's all about the flavour.
Don't get me wrong, I do go out to eat, and we by and large ate well on this holiday. The Cypriot Meze was amazing, the souvla, the dolmades, and the Italian restaurant we happened upon one night was just delish. I swooned my way through main course and dessert. But, there is something about cooking with fabulous ingredients in a different kitchen which is as important as crashing out on a sun lounger with a good book to me.
10oz (ish) of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or you could use tinned and cut the faff)
1lb of boneless leg of pork cut into chunks (I used pork souvla meat from the butchers when in Cyprus)
5-6 tablespoon – olive oil, plus a knob of butter
2 large onions, sliced
2 chopped garlic cloves,
1 small dried red chilli, or you could use a fresh one. I deseed mine because of the children but the choice is yours.
Two tins of chopped tomatoes,
Grated or pared zest of an orange
Handful of chopped parsley (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
A squeeze of lemon (optional - see method)
Drain the chickpeas, rinse them under cold water and drain them again. Place them in a large pan. Pour in cold water to cover, cover and bring to boil. Skim the surface, replace the lid and cook gently for 1 hour, or until the chickpeas are soft. (It may take less) Drain, reserving the cooking liquid and set them aside.
Heat the olive oil and butter in the clean pan and brown the meat cubes in batches. Remove to a plate.
Now, add the onion to the oil remaining in the pan and sauté until light golden. Stir in the garlic and chilli then as soon as it becomes aromatic, add the tomatoes and orange rind.
Return the chickpeas and meat to the pan, and pour in enough of the reserved cooking liquid to cover. Season.
Mix well, cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Stir occasionally and add more of the reserved liquid if needed. You're looking for something that is not dry, but that isn't soupy either.
Add parsley if using, stir in and then check seasoning. I decided to brighten the taste up with a squeeze of lemon. It's by no means necessary but I do like zing!
I served this with roast potatoes, at the request of Lola who cannot resist them. Better accompaniments might be crusty bread or greens of some description but the choice is yours.