Fighting total frustration, I looked in the freezer today and found some frozen fresh borlotti beans! Excitement! I also saw two pieces of what looked like cured ham/pork( God knows where they came from) and was thereby committed to cooking.
I gathered the odds and ends from the refrigerator, pantry and onion/potato/garlic bin and just went with it. Thierry stopped by and ate some with relish while I looked on pleased. Encouraging interlude.
Pork and Borlotti Beans
1 glug of olive oil
4 shallots or 1 large onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp piment d’espelette
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 chunks of cured pork or 2 ham hocks
Water to just cover the pork
1lb fresh borlotti beans
Chopped fresh basil
Saute the shallots, garlic and bell pepper in the olive oil until just tender. Add the bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, piment and black pepper. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the pork and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the beans and continue to cook for 1 hour. Remove the pork, cut into chunks, then put them back into the pot. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the basil.