08/06/2019
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Campsite Cooking: Butter Beans & Chorizo in fresh tomato sauce

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Guyrope Gourmet Josh Sutton takes inspiration from a posh restaurant dish for his latest campsite creation

As spring slipped by into the Great British Summer, I found myself not in a field pitching a tent, which is where I am usually to be found, but bound for London by train. I was en-route to a meeting of food writers.

The Guild of Food Writers meet regularly in a restaurant on Fleet Street, and although I thoroughly enjoy the company of my fellow guild members, as I gazed from the speeding train window at the countryside whizzing by, I couldn’t help but think I was travelling in the wrong direction. It turns out that I wasn’t at all.

As we sat down to a light lunch before the meeting, I picked my way slowly through the tapas menu and my eyes fell upon a dish of butter beans with chorizo. As readers of this magazine will no doubt already know, I am a huge fan of chorizo, but I’d never been a huge fan of the butter bean up until this point.

There is something about the slightly pasty texture of the beans themselves that has put me off in the past, but for reasons unknown, I ordered a plate of butterbeans with chorizo. Why not live dangerously, I thought to myself, I was in the big city after all. The dish came dressed in a delicious tomato sauce, and turned out to be a bit of a revelation.

One of the many great things I love about writing recipes and about food in general, is that I have come to realise just how much our tastes change over the years. It’s an on-going thing, I can list olives, cous cous, broad beans, raw tomato and haloumi cheese as among the things I’ve learned to enjoy. All five were once shunned by me as inedible, but I’ve gradually come to enjoy both their taste and texture, to such an extent that they all feature regularly as ingredients in my cooking these days.

It does make me wonder how many other wonderful ingredients have slipped by unnoticed in my culinary career. I might even make an attempt to do something with quinoa or maybe even freekeh, but I’m not sure I’m brave enough yet.

So butter beans are my new favourite food, for the time being at least. They help thicken any sauce or stew you put them in and hold their shape reasonably well even after an hour or so in the pot. This little recreation of my London lunch dish takes nowhere near an hour to prepare, in fact you will have it on the plate in under half an hour from start to finish.

It’s a reasonable attempt at a dish I enjoyed in fine company, but I guarantee that it tastes much better served up in the open country with friends and family sitting around a glowing campfire, or even in the morning for breakfast, as it is just a fancy dish of sausage and beans after all. It would work really well served up with a fried egg on the side.

BUTTER BEANS & CHORIZO IN FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

INGREDIENTS
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
4 plump fresh tomatoes (chopped)
200g chorizo
Half tsp paprika
Half tsp smoked paprika
Half a glass of water
Ground black pepper
400g tin of butter beans
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley (optional)

METHOD
Peel and fine chop the garlic and fry gently in olive oil until it starts to brown. Next add the chopped tomatoes and stir in. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Halve the chorizo along its length and cut into small pieces, then add to the pan along with both types of paprika.

Stir it well and add half a glass of water and turn up the heat and add the butter beans and mix them in. Turn the heat to a simmer and cook for up to ten minutes. The tomato sauce will begin to thicken. If the dish becomes too dry, just add a little more water. Remove from the heat and garnish with a little chopped flat leaf parsley.

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