This is a recipe that I discovered when I was researching for my cookbook, The London Cookbook. This is hearty fare, a cassoulet-like stew, so save for a cool night and serve with crusty bread and a salad of bitter greens. A chunk of Manchego and a glass Rioja are all that is needed to turn this into a feast.
To make this recipe, a trip to a good Spanish market may be necessary or, if you plan ahead, order from www.despanabrandfoods.com. Despana shop is on Broome Street in New York’s Soho, but their website is just as good.
A few notes on unfamiliar ingredients: Morcilla de Burgos is a version of Black Pudding originating in Castile and Leon. It is a bit dry, thanks to the inclusion of rice and a bit Moorish thanks to the inclusion of cumin. Morcilla curada simply means cured or dried Morcilla. If it proves too hard to source Morcilla, use additional chorizo. The flavor will be less nuanced, but still delicious. For the Choricero peppers, Ñoras may be used instead. Guindilla chillies are a medium-hot and slightly sweet Basque pepper.
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Maldon salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 pounds
fennel bulbs, diced
medium carrots, peeled and diced
large shallots, peeled and diced
large leek, the white part diced
sticks of celery, diced
head of garlic, cloves peeled and finely chopped
dried choricero peppers, soaked in warm water for 2 hours
dried guindilla chillies, cut in half lengthways
fresh bay leaves
small bunch of fresh thyme
Arrocina (white haricot) beans, soaked in cold water overnight
homemade chicken stock
1 3/4 pounds
cooking chorizo, sliced
morcilla de Burgos, skin removed, sliced
Savoy cabbage, finely sliced with a mandolin and lightly braised in butter and a touch of water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the meaty side of the pork belly with a little of the olive oil and season it with salt, pepper, and cumin seeds. Put it into a large roasting pan, skin side down, and roast in the oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and cut the pork belly into 3 centimeter strips across its width. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large pan or casserole over a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add the vegetables and garlic and cook gently, stirring, for 10 minutes.
Crumble the morcilla curada into the mix. Drain the choricero peppers and slice, removing the seeds. Add the choriceros, chillies, bay leaves, and thyme and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the drained Arrocina beans and the chicken stock and simmer very gently, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft. Heat a little more olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and morcilla de Burgos and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, then add to the stew.
Finally add the sliced pork belly and cooked Savoy cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and serve.