Archive for September 2007

Tito’s Peruvian Beans with Gammon

September 27, 2007


On Saturday evening Tito and I decided to have a civilised evening in, drink some nicely oaked red wine and have a warm and comforting roast. Gammon and root vegetables… a wonderful autumnal selection of parsnips, sweet potatoes, yuccas and carrots… the sweetness of the vegetables would harmonise with the sweet, yet also salty, taste of the gammon.  We trotted down to the kitchen, cranked the cronky, unreliable oven up to max to pre-heat, and started to chop the vegetables.  A moment later, our housemate, crazy Captain K, slammed in the front door carrying his shopping.  He came in to our shared kitchen and unpacked his frozen meal, rice and tortillas.  Putting the ready meal of curry in the oven, he found it to be conveniently ready warmed!  Shortly after, we popped the lovely chunk of pink meat surrounded by colourful veggies in next to the curry, and came upstairs to relax.  About hour later, I went down to turn the vegetables, and generally prod the roast a bit.  I noted the Captain had deemed it necessary to relocate our meal to the bottom of the oven – clearly his curry had been in there first.  As I poured some more wine, he came in with can of Guiness clamped in hand, and thrust open the oven door as far as it would go.  He then proceeded to laboriously stir the curry with a chopping knife, licking the sauce from the tip of the knife to test the temperature.  An hour and a half later, I went down again to check on the gammon, but sadly found it to be far from ready.  We had invited a friend to eat with us at nine; yet the vegetables were still crunchy.  It slowly dawned on us that Captain K had likely been opening the oven door approximately every three minutes for the past two hours, and would continue to do so for an indeterminate period.  This most challenging situation called for drastic action.  It demanded fast thinking and great innovation.  Thus, this hearty yet exquisite dish was born.  

Tito’s Peruvian Beans with Gammon  

About 200g of gammon for each person2 cans of beans – drained and rinsed (any type is fine – but a can of butter beans and another mixed is particularly recommended)

2 or 3 cloves of garlic – finely sliced

An onion – finely sliced

Aji Limo – a pinch to taste

Aji Amarillo – a pinch to taste




Serves 2-3, cooking time 20 minutes.  

Fry the gammon in a deep pan.  Remove this, and then fry the onion and garlic until soft in the juices from the gammon, adding a splash of water if needed.  Add the Aji Limo and Aji Amarillo to taste.  If these Peruvian condiments are not available (I buy them in Wholefoods on High Street Kensington) use a little chilli, for heat, and cumin and paprika for flavour.  After this initial fry, return the gammon and add the beans.  Cook, covered, for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally until the beans are hot and a little creamy.  Season to taste and add a sprinkle of oregano (por las gases – a veces las frijoles producen gases – dice Tito).  Throw in another can of beans if you want to have leftovers! On Sunday, when we finally had our proper roast vegetables and succulent gammon for lunch, we realised what a good misfortune had occurred the night before.  We had the rest of the spicy beans with the meal, and they lent a fabulous creamy texture and deeply savoury flavour to the roast… which it would have otherwise gone without!