600g/1¼lb dried cannellini beans, haricot beans, butter beans or black beans
1.1kg/2½lb fatty pork, like belly or shoulder
700g/1½lb streaky bacon or pancetta
450g/1lb ham hock
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
450g/1lb onions, roughly chopped
450g/1lb carrots, sliced 8mm (¹⁄ ³in) thick
2 green peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
450g/1lb very ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped, or 400g tin tomatoes
450g/1lb chorizo sausage, cut in 5mm (¼in) slices
1 tsp hot or smoked paprika
freshly ground pepper
parsley stalks (optional)
generous amount of coarsely chopped coriander or parsley, to garnish
crusty bread, to serve
Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water. When ready to cook, remove the pork and bacon rind and cut the meat into 2.5-4cm chunks. Cut the ham hock into chunks also. Working in batches, heat a little oil in a frying pan and brown the pork, ham hock and bacon or pancetta on all sides. Transfer to a large casserole.
If cooking the stew in the oven, preheat to 160C/140C/gas 3. Pour off excess fat from the frying pan but leave enough to fry the garlic, onions, carrots and peppers with the sprig of thyme and bay leaf. Cook on a low heat, stirring now and then, for 5-6 mins.
Transfer the vegetables to the casserole and add the chopped tomatoes, chorizo, paprika and some pepper. Add just enough water almost to cover the meat. Bring to the boil, put the lid on (add a big bunch of parsley stalks if you have them) and transfer to the oven for 2-2 ½hrs; alternatively, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently on top of the stove.
Meanwhile, drain the beans, place in a saucepan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until cooked – about 40 mins-1½ hrs depending on the type of beans. Add the cooked, drained beans to the stew 15-20 mins before the end of cooking. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed – it’s unlikely to need salt. This recipe can be prepared in advance up to this point.
Serve in deep, wide soup bowls, sprinkled with lots of coarsely chopped coriander or parsley. You’ll need crusty bread to mop up the juices.