porkandbeans (1)

One of the best food memories I have from my initial years in Ireland is beans on toast. It often came up in conversation regarding what mothers were feeding their toddlers, and I was repeatedly informed that Irish kids were mad for beans on toast or cheesy beans on toast, a concept that sounded so peculiar to me.  When I was finally convinced to try it myself, I absolutely loved it.  I mean,  zesty, saucy baked beans combined with the crunch of toast with a kiss of melted cheese is like a little slice of heaven. Sadly, Geoffrey took one bite of his, spit it out, and threw it all across the room. There is probably still evidence of that beans-on-toast-day on that kitchen wall in Adare. Even now, Geoffrey will not eat a baked bean, but he’s definitely missing out on greatness. Tucking into any sort of pork and beans creation on a bed of fluffy mash or toppled onto a crust of sourdough toast is the cat’s whiskers, especially when the weather is getting chilly and you are craving something warm and cosy, straight out of the oven.


For this grown-up, Spanish-style pork and beans recipe, I am once again partnering with the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia, who are on a mission to encourage the nation to broaden their culinary horizons and eat more Quality Assured pork. Pork is packed full of flavour and really versatile; with just a few key ingredients it is easy to enhance its natural flavours to make a tasty meal that is high in protein and great value, like this smoky pork with bacon, paprika and butter beans. It’s like Irish food for the soul.

overheadpork porkbeansplate

Bord Bia is calling for the people of Ireland to take on their own #PorkNight Challenge. On a night of your choosing, Bord Bia is asking to go beyond go -to standby suppers and start prepping something tasty with pork.

The hope is that #PorkNight will become a regular in many households and if you are so inclined, you’ll find a suite of really easy-to-prepare, flavoursome and versatile pork recipes on bordbia.ie for inspiration.

Always look for the Bord Bia Quality Mark on pork so that you know it has been produced to the highest Bord Bia quality standards and where it comes from.


Pork with Bacon, Paprika and Butter Beans

This traditional Spanish combination of pork and paprika gives a dish rich in flavour and colour.

Serves: 6
Time: 2 hours

600g pork shoulder, well trimmed and diced into 2cm pieces
100g bacon, diced
2 tablesp. rapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 red chilli, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablesp. smoked paprika
1 teasp. ground cumin
200ml water
75ml white wine
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 tablesp. chopped fresh parsley
1 teasp. runny honey

Set the oven to Gas Mark 3, 160°C (325°F).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Brown the pork pieces in batches. Remove the meat to an ovenproof casserole dish. Add the bacon to the frying pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. Add it to the casserole dish with the pork.

Add the onion and chilli to the same frying pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic, smoked paprika and cumin. Stir and cook for another minute. Be careful not to let the garlic burn. Then add the wine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the chopped tomatoes and the water and bring back to simmer. Season with a little salt and black pepper. Transfer to the casserole dish, cover with a lid or tinfoil. Place in the oven and cook for about 11⁄2 hours or until the meat is tender. Keep an eye on it and add a little more water if the sauce becomes too dry. For the last ten minutes stir through the butter beans.

Just before serving stir in the honey, season to taste and sprinkle over the parsley. Serve with mashed potatoes and tender stem broccoli or sautéed pak choi.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen xx

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