Salpicón Taco

3 medium plum tomatoes, diced
3 medium radishes, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste
2 medium habanero chiles, halved
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 pound 3/4-inch-cubed cooked skirt steak, flank steak, or pork shoulder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium avocado, diced
8 (6-inch) white corn tortillas, warmed

Stir together tomatoes, radishes, onion, cucumber, and salt in a medium bowl; let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles, orange juice, and lime juice. Stir in meat and cilantro. Gently fold in avocado. Add salt to taste. Serve with corn tortillas.

Grilled Flank Steak Carne Asada

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, cumin and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine steak and remaining cilantro mixture; marinate for at least 4 hours to overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the steak from the marinade.

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Using paper towels, pat both sides of the steak dry; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add steak to grill, and cook, flipping once, until desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes.

Thinly slice steak against the grain and serve with reserved 1/2 cup cilantro mixture.

Kandhari Murgh Tikka (Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses)

850 gms skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
300 mls thick yoghurt/ Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp gram flour/ chickpea flour
1 tbsp garlic paste
1/2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or less if you want a mild heat)
110 mls pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp dried pomegranate seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Butter for basting

Add the gram flour and the yoghurt in a bowl. Mix well to get rid of any lumps to form a thick paste like consistency. Gradually add the ginger and garlic paste, chilli powder, molasses and pomegranate seeds along with the garam masala powder & salt.

Tip in the chicken pieces and mix well making sure to coat them well in the thick marinade. Leave to marinate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200c/ Gas mark 6. Thread the chicken pieces onto wooden skewers and place them on a wire rack. Roast the pieces for 7-10 minutes.

Turn them over & baste with melted butter. Put them back in the oven for 5-7 minutes until they are cooked through and slightly charred around the edges. Serve the kandhari murgh warm with roti or parathas, lemon wedges and an onion salad.

Tandoori Chicken Tikka

450 gms skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp thick yoghurt/ Greek yoghurt
2 tsp chickpea flour/ gram flour
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece ginger peeled
1 green
1 tsp mild paprika
1 green chilli
1/2 tsp chilli powder (or a little more if you’d like it spicy)
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Pinch cinnamon powder
Pinch of saffron crushed
Salt to taste
Butter for basting
1 tsp chaat masala
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salad & chutney to serve

Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli in a wet grinder and blend to a smooth paste. Mix the yoghurt with the gram flour in a bowl to get rid of any lumps to form a thick paste like consistency. Add the ginger, garlic chilli paste, paprika, chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder. Also mix in the ground cinnamon, saffron and salt. Stir well and tip in the chicken pieces and mix well making sure to coat them in the thick marinade. Leave to marinate for a few hours or even overnight if you prefer.

Soak wooden skewers in water. Preheat the grill on medium. Shake off the excess marinade and thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers and place them on a wire rack. Cook under the grill for 15-20 minutes. Turn the skewers every 5 minutes & baste with melted butter until the juices run clear and they are cooked through slightly charred around the edges.

Serve warm over roti or parathas sprinkled with chaat masala and lemon juice along with mint chutney and salad.

Kali Mirch Murgh Tikka (Indian Black Pepper Chicken)

500 gms skinless & boneless chicken cut into bite size pieces
5 cloves of garlic
1 green chili
200 gms hung yoghurt/ Greek yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp corn flour
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Green peppers (optional)
Melted butter for basting

Add the garlic and chilli in a wet grinder with a splash of water & blend to a puree. In a mortar and pestle add the black and white peppercorns grind coarsely & set aside.

Add the yoghurt to a mixing bowl along with the corn flour. Mix well making sure there are no lumps. Now add the paste, ground peppercorns, cardamom powder, garam masala powder and salt. Marinate the chicken pieces in this mix for a couple of hours or preferably overnight.

Soak wooden skewers in water for 15-20 minutes this prevent them from burning. Preheat the oven to 200c. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers along with the green peppers. Brush a wire rack with a little melted butter. Place the skewers on the wire rack and cook for 15-20 minutes until slightly charred around the edge and cook all the way through. Turn the pieces half way through the cooking process and baste with butter.

To serve place the chicken on warm flat bread with a sprinkle of chaat masala, some mint chutney and onion rings.

Stewed Black-Eyed Peas

2 pounds dried black-eyed peas
1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia, peeled and halved through the root end (keep the root attached)
4 whole cloves
1 garlic head, cut in half
10 black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
1 chile de árbol or other small dried chile
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Hot sauce, to taste

Put the peas in a large bowl, add water to cover by 2 inches, and soak overnight.

Blacken the onion: If you have a gas stove, turn one burner on high and place the onion halves directly on the grates next to the flame and cook, turning occasionally, until the onion is charred on all sides, about 5 minutes. Otherwise, heat the broiler and broil the onion on a baking sheet a few inches from the heat, turning occasionally, until charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

When the onion is cool enough to handle, poke 2 cloves into each half, and add the onion to a large stockpot. Drain the peas, discarding the liquid, and then transfer the peas to the pot.

Place the garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and chile on a 12-inch square of cheesecloth and wrap tightly, using twine to seal the packet.

Add 6 quarts water and the spice packet to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim any foam that collects on the surface, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the olive oil and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring and skimming occasionally, until the peas are fully cooked and the cooking liquid has thickened, 1 to 2 hours.

Discard the spice packet, season with the remaining 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste) and the hot sauce and serve.

Ham and Cheese Scones

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced ham, bacob, or pancetta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in buttermilk, cheese, ham and chives until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pill, roll the dough into an 8? circle, about 1-inch thick, and cut into 8 wedges.

Place scones onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

Basic Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk

Mix it all together until smooth. Pour into a black iron skillet that has been greased with butter or bacon fat. Bake in a 425-degree oven until top is brown and firm.

A little more elaborate (from Simply Recipes):

1 tablespoon bacon drippings
2 cups cornmeal OR 1 1/2 cups cornmeal and 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 large egg (optional)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat pan with bacon drippings: Put the bacon drippings in a 9 or 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron skillet and put the skillet into the oven. Then preheat the oven to 400°F with the skillet inside. (If you don’t have an iron skillet, you can use an uncovered Dutch oven or a metal cake pan.)

Make the batter: Whisk together all the dry ingredients (cornmeal, baking soda, salt, sugar if using) in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg (if using) and buttermilk until combined, then mix that into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter.

Pour batter into hot skillet and bake: When the oven is hot, take out the skillet (carefully, as the handle will be hot!). Add the cornbread batter and make sure it is evenly distributed in the skillet.

Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

4 Rest bread in skillet, then serve: Let the bread rest for 10 to 30 minutes in the skillet before cutting it into wedges and serving.

To store, let the cornbread cool, then remove from pan and wrap in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temp for 2 to 3 days

Lima Beans (Baby or Christmas) with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

1/2 POUND FLORIDA BUTTER BEANS or CHRISTMAS LIMAS, soaked
4 SLICES HIGH-QUALITY BACON, diced
2 1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONIONS
2 CELERY STALKS, diced
2 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
SALT
3/4 TEASPOON CHOPPED FRESH THYME LEAVES FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are beginning to soften, about 1 hour.

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and reserve.

Chop half of an onion and add to the pan over medium heat. Add the celery and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add to the beans, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When the beans are nearly soft, season them with salt.

Meanwhile, cut the remaining 2 whole onions in half, then cut into thin slices. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, pour in 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, and set over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions and a few pinches of salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions wilt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are medium brown, soft, and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add 2 tablespoons water and stir to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the bacon to the caramelized onions and heat gently.

Top each serving of beans with some of the caramelized onion–bacon mixture.

Jacob’s Cattle Beans with Pancetta and Sage

1/2 POUND JACOB’S CATTLE BEANS, soaked (page 21)
3 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, plus more for drizzling
1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION, chopped
1 MEDIUM CARROT, peeled and chopped
2 CELERY STALKS, chopped
3 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
1/4 POUND PANCETTA, diced
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH SAGE
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE for garnishing

Put the beans and their soaking water in a soup pot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, until beans just begin to soften, about 30 minutes.

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, warm the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, pancetta, 1 tablespoon of the sage, and a little salt and pepper, and sauté very slowly to draw out the flavor of the aromatics and pancetta, about 20 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables and pancetta to brown.

Add the vegetables and pancetta to the beans, season with salt, and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Check the water level often and add more water if needed. This dish is best when the beans are a little soupy.

During the final 5 minutes of cooking, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sage and adjust the seasonings.

Serve the beans in warmed shallow bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Substitution Note: Cranberry beans will also work nicely in this simple recipe, or try Good Mother Stallard beans.

Boston Baked Beans

1 POUND EUROPEAN SOLDIER, WHITE NAVY, or YELLOW EYE BEANS, soaked (page 21)
2 TEASPOONS DRY MUSTARD
1 TABLESPOON TOMATO PASTE
1 TEASPOON SALT
1/3CUP DARK MOLASSES
1/4 CUP LIGHTLY PACKED BROWN SUGAR
2 TABLESPOONS MAPLE SYRUP
1/2 POUND SALT PORK, rinsed, dried, and scored in several places with a sharp knife (optional)
1/2 LARGE YELLOW ONION, thinly sliced
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are beginning to soften, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 250 F.

Drain the beans, reserving the broth. If necessary add enough water to the broth to measure 2 cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the broth, mustard, tomato paste, salt, molasses, brown sugar, and maple syrup.

Put half of the beans in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid. Top with the salt pork (if using) and half of the sliced onion. Add the remaining beans and top with the remaining onion.

Pour the broth mixture over the beans, cover, and bake until the beans are soft, the pork is meltingly tender, and the sauce is thick and clings to the beans, 5 to 7 hours. Stop and check occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid in the beans, and add water if necessary, but not too much. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chilies in Escabeche (for beans and tacos)

10 JALAPEÑO CHILES
1/4 CUP SAFFLOWER or GRAPESEED OIL
2 MEDIUM CARROTS, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/4 inch-thick slices
1/4 CUP THINLY SLICED WHITE ONION
2 GARLIC CLOVES, smashed with the side of a knife
3/4 CUP WHITE VINEGAR
1 BAY LEAF
1 TEASPOON DRIED MEXICAN OREGANO
5 PEPPERCORNS
1 TEASPOON COARSE SALT
2 TEASPOONS SUGAR

Cut a slit down the length of each chile, leaving the stem intact.

In a medium, heavy skillet over high heat, warm the safflower oil. Add the chiles and stir-fry until the skins are evenly blistered all over and they turn from bright green to dull green, about 8 minutes.

Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, bay leaf, oregano, peppercorns, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the chiles and other vegetables from the skillet and pack into a sterilized 1-pint mason jar. They should be packed tightly all the way to the top. Pour in the vinegar to cover all the vegetables. Let cool and then refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Moros y Cristos

2 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
½ MEDIUM YELLOW or WHITE ONION, chopped
2 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
½ MEDIUM GREEN BELL PEPPER, seeded and chopped
1 JALAPEÑO CHILE, finely chopped
1 CUP LONG-GRAIN WHITE RICE
1 BAY LEAF 2 CUPS WATER
1 TEASPOON SALT
2 CUPS COOKED BLACK BEANS (see previous recipe), drained
FRESH CILANTRO LEAVES for garnishing

In a small Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and chile. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, fragrant, and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly with the oil. Add the bay leaf, water, salt, and beans.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook at a very slow simmer until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. You may check the beans and rice toward the end of the cooking time to make sure the water level is not too low and add a bit more water if needed, but you should leave the beans and rice as undisturbed as possible.

Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Garnish each serving with cilantro.

Basic Black Beans

1 POUND BLACK VALENTINE BEANS, soaked
2 TABLESPOONS SAFFLOWER or GRAPESEED OIL
1 SMALL WHITE ONION, chopped
2 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
1/2 MEDIUM GREEN BELL PEPPER, seeded and chopped
1 JALAPEÑO CHILE, CHOPPED
2 TABLESPOONS CIDER VINEGAR
1/4 CUP FRESH CILANTRO LEAVES
1/4 TEASPOON SPANISH SMOKED PAPRIKA
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by at least 1 inch. Bring to a rapid boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat so that the beans are barely simmering and cook until the beans are nearly soft, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a medium, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm the safflower oil. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and chile and sauté until the vegetables are very aromatic and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the vinegar, cilantro, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.

(Skip this step if making Moros y Cristos.) Scoop 1 cup of the beans from the pot and add to the skillet. Using a potato masher, mash the beans with the sofrito.

Add sofrito to the pot of simmering beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until the beans are tender and flavorful, 30 to 40 minutes.

Basic Borracho Beans

Ingredients

4 cups cooked pinto, Rio Sape, red Appaloosa, or Anasazi beans, in their broth
1 bottle lager beer
2 slices high-quality bacon, diced
1/2 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 to 4 Serrano chiles, seeded if desired and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
Lime wedges for serving

In a stockpot over medium heat, warm the beans and their broth. Add the beer and simmer to cook off some of the beer, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until the fat is nearly rendered and the bacon is brown, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, and chiles, and sauté over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked bacon.

Add the mixture to the beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.

Serve the beans with warm tortillas and lime wedges.

Adapted from Rancho Gordo (omits mushrooms)

Basic Pot Beans

1 TABLESPOON LARD or EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1/2 MEDIUM WHITE or RED ONION, chopped
2 GARLIC CLOVES, smashed
1 POUND BEANS OF YOUR CHOICE, soaked (page 21)
SALT
4 KEY LIMES, cut in half, for serving
FINELY CHOPPED WHITE or RED ONION, for serving
1/4 CUP CHOPPED FRESH CILANTRO for serving

In a stock pot, over medium heat, warm the lard.

Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add the beans and their soaking water. Add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by at least 1 inch.

Raise the heat to high, bring to a rapid boil, and cook for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat so that the beans are barely simmering and cook, partially covered, until the beans are soft, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Season the beans judiciously with salt, keeping in mind that it takes time for the beans to absorb the salt.

Ladle the beans into warmed bowls.

Diners top their servings with a squeeze of key lime, a spoonful of chopped onions, and a sprinkling of cilantro.

Salsa Arriera

20 whole serrano peppers (or 10 Serrano del Sol)
2 tablespoons chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons water, cold
Salt, to taste

Toast the chiles on a medium-hot comal or griddle, turning them from time to time until they are blistered and charred.

While they are still hot, grind them with the rest of the ingredients to a rough paste in a molcajete or in a blender.

Salsa de Tijera

1/2 ts Salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Red wine vinegar
8 Chiles anchos
1/4 cup Queso fresco; crumbled
1 Onion
4 Garlic cloves; small

Toast chiles lightly, turning constantly so not to burn them. When cool, remove veins and seeds.

Cut chiles into small pieces and chop onion and garlic finely.

Mix chiles, onion, and garlic with oil, vinegar and salt. Let stand for approx 2 hrs.

To serve sprinkle with cheese.

(NOTE: This is sometimes called Salsa de tijera (scissors sauce) since the chiles are usually cut into thin strips with scissors. When chiles pasilla are used the sauce is called Salsa de moscas. Salsa de los reyes has three chiles ­ mulato, ancho, and pasilla. Good sauce for barbequed meats…)

Pork, Pork, Pork, and Beans

Serves 6-8

1 pound Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans
1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in Pork Butt (Shoulder)
5 slices Uncured Rustic Bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (lardons)
4 links Rustic Pork Sausage, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mirepoix:

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 large stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
14 ounce can diced tomatoes with the juice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
5 branches fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Beans:

3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, preferably Rancho Gordo Sal de Mar sea salt (from the Yucatan)
2 cups panko crumbs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Seasoning the pork butt: Remove the bone from the pork butt and cut the meat into 1 1/2-to-2 inch chunks. Season all sides of the meat with salt and pepper, and refrigerate it (uncovered) for a day.

Soaking the beans: Put the beans in a bowl and cover with 2-inches cold water. Soak the beans for 4 to 6 hours.

Begin the cooking: Put the bacon into a cold 5 quart enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven and place the pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon from for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is just beginning to color. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the mirepoix vegetables together and reserve 1/2 cup for cooking the beans. Add the remaining vegetables to the pan and sauté in the bacon fat, stirring from time to time for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and are just beginning to color.

Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaf. Tuck the pork chunks into the vegetables, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and put (uncovered) in the oven to cook for about 2 hours.

Cooking the beans (while the meat is in the oven):
Heat a medium size enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven. Add the oil and the reserved mirepoix and saute about 10 minutes to soften.

Add the beans and their soaking water, adding additional water to reach 2-inches above the beans. Place over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Continue to boil rapidly for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.

Place the lid slightly ajar (to allow evaporation), and reduce the heat to cook the beans at a gentle simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water as needed to be sure the beans are covered by 2 inches of water at all times; use the lid to control the heat.

After about 1 hour, the smell of beans should be pronounced and you can salt the beans at this point. Add 11/2 tablespoons of salt. Continue to cook until the beans are just tender.

Completing the dish: Once the pork is tender, remove the pieces from the pan. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and discard.

Put the cooked vegetables and any juices into a food processor. Add the smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, a few grinds of black pepper and lemon juice and puree.

Drain the beans and put them in the Dutch oven. Stir in the bacon pieces and the vegetable puree.

Nestle the pork meat and sausages into the beans, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and return to the oven (uncovered) to cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the panko crumbs in a bowl and stir in the butter. Remove the pot from the oven and sprinkle the panko over the top. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the crumbs are a rich golden brown.

Pancetta, Corn, and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Marcella beans
2 cups water (or half water and half bean broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

In a soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta cubes and saute over medium-low heat until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, oregano, beans, and water, stirring to mix all of the ingredients. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Right before serving, you can add some heavy cream if you like. Allow the soup to cook another 2 or 3 minutes to reheat if necessary. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh herbs.