Pork with Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes and Thyme

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You can make this simple pork sauce in advance and freeze it in bags so it’s ready to defrost at a few hours notice. Heat and toss with cooked pasta and grated Pecorino; fry with eggs and crushed cooked potatoes for a breakfast hash; make a cheat’s yuk sung by serving the pork in iceberg lettuce leaves; mix it into boiled new potatoes with a grating of Parmesan or add it to bean soups to make them richer.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, sliced finely
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
400g pork mince
200ml chicken stock
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

Instructions

1. Add the olive oil to a large frying pan.

2. Fry the onions or shallots with the celery and red pepper gently for about 10 minutes until lightly golden and the vegetables are soft.

3. Add the pork mince and fry until coloured. Add the chicken stock, cherry tomatoes and thyme and cook for about 20-30 minutes, adding a spoon or two of water if you need to stop it sticking.

Recipe Note

This is a very simple pork sauce and once you can make it, you can easily adapt it to any cuisine.

– Use a finely clove of garlic instead of onions.

– Fry chopped chilli with the onions to add heat.

– Fry a teaspoon of cumin seeds with the onions and omit the thyme.

– Substitute half the chicken stock with red or white wine.

– For a Chinese version, add a teaspoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sweet mirin and half a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar with the stock. Serve the pork sauce on top of fried green beans with plain boiled rice.

– To make it more Italian, use fresh basil leaves instead of thyme and add them at the end of cooking to keep their flavour fresh – serve the pork sauce tossed with penne or tagliatelle.

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