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Recipe of the week: campfire pork and beans

This rich, hearty dish is perfect for cooking round a campfire

Set somewhere between a cassoulet and Boston baked beans, this rich, hearty recipe is absolutely perfect for cooking round a campfire, says Gill Meller. You’ll need to get it going in the afternoon, and then let it simmer away gently, until dusk. Serve with good bread or campfire baked potatoes.

Ingredients: serves 4
  • 250g dried haricot beans
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200g bacon lardons or bacon off-cuts
  • 3 celery sticks, cut into 2-3cm pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 7-8 sage leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp light brown soft sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 250g piece of smoked bacon
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 6-8 pork sausages
  • freshly ground black pepper
Method
  • Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover them with water. Add the salt, give the beans a stir and allow them to soak for 10-12 hours or overnight. (If you’re camping, you may want to do this before you leave.)
  • Drain the beans and place them in a large pan. Cover with more water and set the pan over a hot fire. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender – about 45mins.
  • Set a large, heavy-based saucepan that has a lid over a medium-hot fire.
  • Add the extra-virgin olive oil and, when it’s hot, add the bacon lardons and fry them until they take on a bit of colour and begin to render some of their fat. Now, add the celery, onion and garlic. Stir well and continue to cook for 5-10mins more. Add the sage ribbons and the rosemary leaves and some black pepper.
  • Stir in the canned tomatoes, sugar and red wine vinegar. Add the drained beans and about 500ml of water, so the bacon and beans are covered. Tuck in the piece of smoked bacon and add the bay leaves. Put a lid on the pan and let it cook gently for 2 hours.
  • When it has had its time simmering and the beans are meltingly tender, lay the sausages down on the grill over a medium-high heat. Cook the sausages, turning regularly, until they are dark and caramelized, then add them to the stew. If they seem a bit too big, just cut them in half. Continue to cook the stew gently for 15-20mins, until the sausages are cooked through, then take it off the fire and let it rest and cook for at least 10-15mins before serving.
Campfire pork and beans recipe from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller

Taken from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller, published by Quadrille at £30. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £23.99 (incl. p&p), call 020-3176 3835 or visit theweekbookshop.co.uk.

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