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Borlotti beans with guanciale and champ bread

This week’s recipes are two very flavoursome dishes that are easily made from local produce. The borlotti beans is a perfect option if you’re looking for something that’s healthy and delicious – the guanciale used in this recipe, a really tasty type of thinly sliced Italian cured pork, can be sourced in any good deli.

If you’re in the Belfast area, Arcadia and Sawers are two great options, in Newtownards you’ve got Indie Fude and the Meat Merchant Farm Shop in Moira is also a fantastic place to purchase. Unfortunately, it has been a while since I travelled around the local farm shops but there are definitely loads to choose from all over Northern Ireland.

The champ bread recipe is a great base or addition to any meal to add in that little bit of extra flavour that we all crave.


Barlotti beans with guanciale (Serves 4)

400g borlotti beans, preferably dried

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 pinch of salt

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 teasp dried chilli

1 tin plum tomatoes

2 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1.5l chicken stock

4 sprigs thyme

3 sprigs oregano

8 slices guanciale

Black pepper

Soak the beans overnight in cold water mixed with the bicarbonate of soda. The next day, strain the beans and rinse thoroughly.

Place a pot on a low heat, add the olive oil and heat for a minute or two. Add in the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, then cook for 10 minutes, then add in the chilli and a piece of lemon and leave on the hob for a few more minutes, while continuing to stir.

Now add in the beans and tomatoes, vinegar and stock and cook for a further 30 minutes until the mix thickens, then simmer for another 30 minutes. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, serve with a couple of slices of guanciale on top.


Champ bread

(Makes 40 small rolls or three loaves)

1kg strong white flour

30g yeast

240g mashed potato

280g natural yoghurt

140ml milk

180ml water

40g salt

2 bunches of spring onion, chopped

First, mix together the flour, mashed potatoes and yeast, then add in the lukewarm water, milk and yoghurt. Once this is fully mixed together, add the salt and spring onions and continue to mix (on a medium speed if you are using a mixer, or gradually if by hand) for 10 minutes.

Allow to prove in a covered bowl and then knock back or knead out to remove any remaining air from the dough, then divide into 40 small rolls or three loaves and place on a baking tray.

Allow these to prove once more and then bake at 200. To get the perfect rise, spray the dough balls with a small amount of warm water and spray three bursts of water into the oven upon initial entry. Champ bread can be served as part of a main meal of your choice or as a side dish

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