We've already established that I like South American style food, and I like trying new recipes. So the two came together when I found a recipe for spiced pork loin with black eyed beans at T's flat.
I bought a massive hunk of pork from the butcher, who was actually nice to me for once. Probably because I ended up spending the best part of £20 on it, but it was good to be spoken to as a proper person rather than getting sarcastic comments. (I should really go to the other butcher, but it's so much further to walk to.) I also stocked up on tinned black eyed beans and paprika from Lupe Pintos, which is an Aladdin's cave of random food from around the world. I also got a couple of their chorizo rosario, which is uncooked so it isn't as tough as the precooked chorizo you find in the supermarkets. I got everything else from the green grocer, although I completely forgot to get the fresh tomatoes, instead just getting tinned ones.
The recipe itself was pretty easy to pull together, and although the butcher scored the skin for me, I didn't ask him to french trim the bones as there was still as lot of meat in that area that I didn't want to waste. The crackling came up well, the paprika gave it a mild spiciness, and the fat underneath was creamy rather than chewy. I ate a bit too much of it and felt ill afterwards. I found the tomato sauce a little too watery, although this meant that I could mop up the leftovers with a slice of bread instead! I used larger chillies, so the stew wasn't too hot even when the chillies were sliced in to it at the end. Plus I absolutely love stewed chorizo. I had to restrain myself from picking out all the chorizo while dishing up and eating it all myself. The pork wasn't as melt in the mouth as I'd hoped, but the steam from the stew meant it was still moist and tender.
T enjoyed it too, I am trying to get him more in to pulses as a) they are tasty, b) they are good for you and c) they are a cheap way to bulk out a meal. I haven't yet managed to get a vegetarian chilli down him, but surely it is only a matter of time?
The picture in the Jamie Oliver book/website looked much prettier than mine, and either he used meat from a withered pig or that baking tray is enormous. T's roasting tin is tiny, as it was about the only one we could find that fitted in to his shoebox sized oven. I can't wait until I have my own flat and can buy a decent oven that can fit in more than one thing at a time.
There were some left overs, which I divided into chops. The one in the fridge reheated well the next day (let's face it, stew is always better the next day), but the one in the freezer is an unknown quantity... I would definitely make it again, but reduce the amount of liquid in the stew, and add in way more chillis. It was a bit messy for a posh dinner, but would be great for a more informal meal.
Talking of which, I might have my first ever dinner party next week. I am trying to decided whether to just invite my friends or to get each of my flatmates to bring a randomer. Decisions decisions.