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Pork rib, black lentil and white bean stew

This deeply spiced braise of pork ribs, black lentils and white beans is proof that some things are worth the wait. A scattering of toasted crumbs adds irrestistable crunch to an already moreish dish. Begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the beans.

You'll need

60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil 1.2 kg pork ribs, cut into 2-rib portions 1 onion, thinly sliced 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 tsp Dutch-process cocoa, sieved 2 tbsp smoked paprika 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground fennel 1 tsp ground cinnamon Pinch of ground cloves 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 400 gm canned chopped tomatoes 200 gm small black lentils (see note) 100 gm haricot or other small white beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained 50 ml apple cider vinegar, or to taste 2 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses 1 fresh bay leaf 1 thyme sprig, plus 1 tbsp extra leaves, to serve 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 tbsp oregano   Spicy crumbs 50 ml olive oil 150 gm crustless sourdough bread, torn 1 tbsp thyme 1 tbsp oregano 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley 1 tbsp sage 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced


  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Season ribs well and cook in batches until browned all over (2-3 minutes each side). Transfer to a plate.
  • 02
  • Heat remaining oil in a large casserole and sauté onion, chilli and garlic over medium heat until tender (6-8 minutes). Add cocoa and spices and stir until fragrant (30 seconds), then stir in mustard. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley, oregano and extra thyme leaves, and 1.4 litres water, bring to the boil, then add ribs, cover, transfer to oven and braise, checking and stirring occasionally, until beans and pork are tender (3½-4 hours). Discard thyme sprig and bay leaf, stir in parsley, oregano and thyme leaves and season generously to taste.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for herbed crumbs, process ingredients in a food processor to coarse crumbs, spread on a baking tray and bake, until crisp and golden brown (10-15 minutes). Scatter evenly over stew and serve hot.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Additional Notes

Note Small black lentils are available from select delicatessens. If they’re unavailable, small green lentils would make a good substitute.

Drink Suggestion

Dense, full-bodied mataró

Featured in

May 2016

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