Here’s a quick midweek meal dedicated to one of my favourite bloggers, Ms Hattie Garlick of Free Our Kids. If you haven’t read about Hattie’s year-long experiment spending zero on toys, nappies, baby bubbles, flavoured rice cakes and all the other nonsense parents are told is essential for bringing up happy, healthy kids then head over there now. It’s a good read that could even save you some cash and some agro.
Hattie asked me to post this recipe last week but it was a quick thing I knocked up on the spur of the moment, not thinking I would blog about it, so I made it again to make sure I had remembered the recipe correctly. Trouble is: I have a cold, no sense of smell and a furry tongue so I cannot guarantee what follows is as tasty as the version I made last week. It is, however, in the right ballpark. It’s also easy enough to whip up after a busy day when you’re feeling under the weather. If you buy your halloumi on three for two as I did, the dish is pretty cheap as well, but on occasion I do like to splash out on some delicious locally produced halloumi from High Weald Dairy. For a vegetarian alternative, I suggest replacing the chorizo with a few dried tomatoes and some extra smoked paprika.
Grilled halloumi with speedy yet smoky butter bean stew
Serves 2 and a tot
Olive oil for frying
2″ piece chorizo, cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tin (440g) butter beans, drained but not rinsed
1/2 tin plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
4 large handfuls of curly kale or fresh spinach
250g halloumi cheese
Heat a little oil in a small but heavy casserole dish. Add the chopped onion and chorizo and fry until the onion is softened and the fat has been released. Add the garlic and fry for a minute or so more, stirring, then add the cumin and paprika. After a minute or so add the butter beans, tomatoes and thyme then cover and let simmer on a low heat for about thirty minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
After this time, put a dry griddle or frying pan on the hob to heat up. Season the stew with salt and pepper to taste then add the kale or spinach, re-cover and leave to steam for 4-5 minutes or so until the greens are wilted but not soggy.
While you are steaming the greens, add the sliced halloumi to the hot pan and fry dry for 2-3 minutes on each side, leaving the cheese undisturbed until it takes on a beautiful charred-brown colour.
Serve with potatoes or bread, or as it comes if you’re off carbs this Jan.