Three Bean Bake

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I have an essential cookbook that I don’t talk about much. It’s not hip, cool, trendy, sexy or any other adjective you could think of. Furthermore It doesn’t contain glossy photos or have a celebrity chef to endorse it. But it is a treasure-trove, a database of sorts containing information and recipes that one could consider primarily in the realm of comfort food.  The book in question contains recipes submitted by real people trying to feed real families in an ethical and cost effective way. I received my copy of The More With Less cookbook  on my wedding day. I think it was intended for my wife, but over the years as I began to slowly crowd my wife out of the kitchen, I began to really value the information contained on the pages of my now stained and dog-eared copy.The recipe that follows is a heavily modified version of the one on page 101 and it is a family favourite.

What you need:

  • [For the crust]
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 egg beaten
  • [For the filling]
  • 500g ground beef or a mixture of pork and beef
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of smashed garlic
  • 2-3 dried cayenne peppers chopped (add more if you like it hot)
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • A note about the beans. You can use any type or combination you like, either canned or dry which have been precooked. You need about 2 -2.5 cups.   
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground cumin (or you can use chilli powder if you have to)
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • Add a healthy dose of you favourite hot sauce (I used a roasted chipotle one)
  • 1 cup of your favourite cheese to melt on top (I used Romano but cheddar would be ideal)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How it’s done:

  • [For the crust]
  • Mix the corn and regular flour together, add the baking powder and cut in the oil.
  • Beat the egg, and combine it with the yogurt into the flour mixture.
  • Mix until you have a nice sticky dough.
  • The dough can be made up in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • [For the filling]
  • Brown the meat with the onions and garlic.
  • When the meat is browned add the tomato paste, beans, cumin, paprika, hot peppers, and the hot sauce. Top up with a little water and simmer until all the flavours meld together. This should take about 15-20 min.
  • Grease a deep ovenproof pan, and spread the dough out on the bottom to make a nice crust.
  • Add the meat/bean mixture on top of the crust and bake for about 20-30 min at 200C (400F).
  • Add the grated cheese on the top and bake for another few minutes until the cheese has become a melted mass of gooey goodness. (That is the official term.)
  • Let cool for a few minutes and serve with a dab of sour cream or yogurt and your favourite salsa.

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