I had some leftover roast pork in the fridge, along with aubergines (eggplant) and peppers that needed using up. To make something new (nextovers, as Karen eloquently put it), I threw a slice of ‘nduja and fresh coriander (cilantro) into the mix.
For those of you unfamiliar with ‘nduja, it’s a soft, spicy, smoked, Italian pork salumi (cured sausage), made with pig’s head , shoulder and belly, plus salt, roasted red chilli peppers and spices. ‘Nduja comes from Calabria and takes it’s name from French Andouille, but was created after Columbus’ discovered the New World, probably when two thirds of Italy was ruled by the Crown of Aragon, which introduced chilli peppers and tomatoes to the country. ‘Nuduja packs a spicy umami punch that goes a long way – this salumi will keep for a month or so in the fridge and a half inch (1.5 cm) slice will brighten up any soup, stew, pizza and even a shepherd’s pie.
Pork with Aubergine, Peppers and ‘Nuduja recipe (serves 3):
1lb pork (diced)
1/2 inch slice ’nduja (crumbled)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 medium tomatoes (grated)
2 mixed peppers (chopped)
1 aubergine (diced)
1 large squirt anchovy paste
1 dessertspoon tomato purée
2 bay leaves
2 dessertspoons fresh coriander (chopped)
1/2 pint home made stock
a splash sherry vinegar
cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Chop and fry a large onion gently in extra virgin olive oil, until it caramelises. Stir frequently or it will burn.
When the onion becomes soft and sticky, grate in 2 medium sized tomatoes – slice them in half and shred the wet side into the pan.
Next, stir in the garlic and bell peppers – mine were red and yellow, but green would be equally good.
Chop the aubergine just before adding it to the vegetables, so that it doesn’t have time to discolour.
Mix in the cubed pork.
Cut off a half inch slice of ‘nduja, remove the casing (skin) and break it into the cooking pot. It will dissolve fairly quickly and impart a fantastic lip tingling flavour. You may be tempted to spread a little ‘nduja onto a slice of bread, just to test it!
Finally, add the anchovy paste, tomato purée, bay leaves, sherry vinegar, black pepper (to taste), stock and fresh coriander. I used home made chicken stock, but pork or vegetable would also be good. Give the dish a good stir, cover with foil, or a lid if you are using a cast iron casserole and simmer gently for an hour. I cooked mine on the hob, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t put it in the oven.
Remove the foil or lid for the last 15 minutes, so that the stew starts to form a skin on top.
Sprinkle with more chopped coriander and serve with boiled potatoes or rice. A robust red wine, such as Gran Cerdo Tempranillo will make a very good accompaniment.