Hake with Judion de la Granja, Paella Rice, and Tomatoes…

First up, beware of Waitrose hake fillets (those in the white, plastic, bag). Why? Well they’re not bloody fillets for a start, just ratty scraps of fish glued together to look like fillets. They’re shit, they’ll bugger up this dish, but they’re all I’ve got.

So, Judion de la Granja, what the hell are they, I hear someone muttering in the cheap seats. They’re large, plump, Spanish butter beans. Except that the 2 kilos I have in stock turn out to be somewhat smaller than ordinary butter beans, but much plumper. Tastier too. Ah well…

They took 2 hours to cook, in water with onion and carrot added, after which they were drained, had a good splash of olive oil stirred through while still hot. Both stock and beans were refrigerated overnight.

I know I promised this for yesterday, but I’m still not sleeping, and pretty much wiped out, so I’m writing this in real time as I cook it

***

You’ll need (this will fill a 3-litre casserole/pan):-

400g Judion de la Granja beans

100g Paella rice

2 Romano sweet red peppers (the long, pointed, kind)

2 good-sized Sweet Spear carrots. sliced

3 large Echalion shallots (or two medium onions), chopped

2  400g packs baby plum tomatoes, halved

500g Hake, skinned and pin-boned and cut into bite-sized pieces. If not hake (used because it’s extremely popular in Spain), I’d go with coley.

One medium-hot red chilli, finely chopped

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon ground coriander

50g  butter

A splash of olive oil, to keep the butter from burning

½ teaspoon celery salt

1 tablespoon Knorr Touch of Taste Chicken

1 Kallo vegetable stock cube

2 teaspoons of sugar

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 garlic cloves (optional), peeled and squashed with the flat of a knife blade

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

***

And this is what you do with it:-

Soak the beans in water overnight. Next day drain, cover with plenty of cold water, plus a couple of carrots cut into chunks, and a medium onion, likewise. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.  Even then, some will remain hard, the worst floating baleful and wrinkled, on the surface. Bin these.

NB: If you can’t get Judion de la Granja, use 3 cans, drained, of  Napolina canned butter beans.

While the beans are cooking – or next day as I did – heat the butter and oil, add the chopped shallots, and cook gently until soft.

Stir in the paprika and coriander, adding a little more oil if it looks dry, and cook gently for a few minutes. Add the sliced carrots, one portion of tomatoes,  plus everything below “A splash if olive oil…” except sea salt and black pepper.

Pour over the hot bean cooking liquid (if you cooked the beans the previous day, reheat it), stir well, cover and leave to simmer until the carrots are almost soft, then add the second batch of tomatoes. At this point the rice, peppers, deseeded, pith removed and cut into postage-stamp sized pieces, along with the chopped chilli, can go in too. Stir and leave to continue simmering.

After a further half-hour, add the second batch of tomatoes and, as soon as they soften, put in the fish – and watch it like a hawk as it will cook quickly. As soon as it goes white, remove the pan/casserole from the heat – the fish will cook through in the residual heat.

Set aside to cool and, when cold, refrigerate until the following day – all soups and stews are improved by this, as it give the flavours time to snuggle up and get to know each other. Reheat gently, adjust the seasoning if necessary (it wasn’t for me), and serve.

And I have to say, even fresh from the stove, it tastes bloody good!

PS: You’ll probably have some cooked beans left over (and I had to remove some from the pot as well, to get the fish in). Cook’s treat.

As recipes go, this one is easy, even though not especially Spoonie-friendly due to the amount of prep. Get someone else to do that, if you can, and just supervise!

And if tomato skins bother you, blitz the tomatoes in a food processor instead of just cutting in half.

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