This is a lovely stew rather like a cassoulet which Maria cooks for lunch, after which we all, including the children, sink into a particularly deep siesta sleep. She uses chick peas instead of haricot beans and always puts peppers in and plenty of garlic. She occasionally puts in bits of the Spanish sausage called Chorizo and you could add coarse salami-type sausage if you liked She usually serves it with a very good salad of tomato and a lot of raw onion. You must soak the chick peas in water for at least an hour first.
Chop the meat up into chunks. Cut the rind off the bacon and chop into chunks. Fry meat and bacon in a little olive oil until brown on all sides. Put in a casserole with the chopped pepper and tomatoes, the garlic, the soaked chick peas, the oregano, plenty of black pepper, a little salt, the wine and enough water to almost cover the ingredients. Put the covered dish in a hot oven Gas 8 (450°F/230°C) for about 15 minutes and then turn heat down to Gas 3 (325°F/160°C) for about 1½ hours.
© 1976 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.