Category Archives: Casseroles and hotpots

Pork, leek, and bean casserole.

pork and bean casserole

A good hearty casserole for a wintry Sunday night in January. What could be better? I used leeks and parsnips fresh from the plot, along with some borlotti beans that were grown and dried at the end of last summer. You can also use a can of fresh beans if you don’t have these.

This would be a perfect dish for a slow cooker if you have one. I wasn’t organised to get it going early enough, but I still cooked it fairly long and slow in a cast iron casserole dish in a moderate oven.

Please don’t worry too much about the quantities in this, I have given what I used for guidance only, use your judgement and whatever you have to hand.


  • about 3 handfuls of dried borlotti beans (soaked overnight, or min 8 hours)
  • 460g cubed pork
  • a little oil for browning the meat
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 heaped tsp mustard powder
  • 50ml cider or cider vinegar
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 400ml veg stock (chicken is fine too)
  • 50g chorizo (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC (less for a fan oven).
  2. If your beans were soaked from dry, drain them, put them in a pan of fresh water and bring to the boil. Once they’re boiling vigorously, give them a good 10 mins.
  3. Put the pork in a shallow dish, large bowl or even a food bag, and cover with the flour, mustard and some seasoning. Toss to coat thoroughly.
  4. Fry the pork in oil to seal the meat and brown a little at the edges. Put into the casserole dish.
  5. Pour the cider or vinegar (or you could use white wine) into the pan and scrape up all of the bits that have stuck to the bottom. This might take a bit of time, depending on how non-stick your pan is – mine really isn’t so took some serious scraping. Pour this over the pork.
  6. Add a bit more oil to the pan and gently sauté the onions, garlic and leeks, then add these and the parsnips to the casserole dish, along with the chorizo if using.
  7. Once the beans have done their 10 mins of boiling, drain them and rinse, then add to the dish.
  8. Pour the stock in, cover with a lid and put into the oven for about 2 hours.
  9. Serve in a bowl with crusty bread to dunk in.

Credit: my own recipe, but inspiration came from Nigel Slaters recipe for Pork, leeks and green peppercorns, Tender, Vol I. I substituted the mushrooms for beans, and left out the herbs, peppercorns and the cream. I did debate wether to add a swirl of cream at the end, but I’m just trying to be healthy.

This is how the borlotti beans look after their soaking, but before cooking. Sadly they loose their beautiful mottling once cooked. But they take on a tanned hue and become so nutty and sweet. They are the king of beans.

borlotti beans


Rustic Cottage Pie


cottage pie

A recipe from John:

This is a basic cottage pie recipe which I’ve adapted to use the leeks that we have growing in abundance on the plot. I would normally include peas in a cottage pie, but in this case I’ve used leeks instead and it worked well. I grew up in Lancashire and I have fond memories of the Lancashire hot pots that we would devour as growing kids. So, instead of the usual mashed potato for a cottage pie, I have done sliced rounds of potato layered on the top of the pie filling – in the style of a hotpot.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 400g minced beef
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 onion
  • 3 small carrots
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 50g cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon (pinch)
  • Worcester sauce (dash)
  • Tomato puree (1 tbs)
  • Olive oil (3 tbs)
  • Mixed herbs
  • Beef stock (500ml)
This is a really simple recipe, just fry the onion for 3-4 minutes. Then add the minced beef to the pan and brown that with the onions which takes 5-6 minutes more. Then add the sliced leeks and carrots and allow them a couple of minutes with the other ingredients and the oil in the frying pan. Then add the stock and the seasoning. Let that simmer while you peel and slice 4-5 medium sized potatoes. Finally add the filling to a casserole dish and layer the potato slices on the top in a spiral pattern. Cook in a medium oven for around an hour. Then take off the lid and sprinkle a little cheese, olive oil and mixed herbs on the top. Then return to the oven for a further fifteen minutes with the lid off to brown and crust the top, and melt the cheese. Then serve.
cottage pie afters
%d bloggers like this: