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You don’t have to make the beans dish as well as the toastie, you could just make the beans, or just the toastie, but they are exceptionally good together, particularly on an autumn day in the garden.
1 Tbls of olive oil, plus extra for trickling at the end
150g of smoked pigs cheek, pancetta cut into pieces or bacon lardons
1 medium onion thinly sliced
2 cloves or garlic, thinly sliced
2 sticks of celery thinly sliced
400g of ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
350g of cooked jarred or tinned white beans drained
A medium bunch of chard roughly chopped
A small handful of parsley leaves, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the toastie
2 slices of good bread (I’m using rye bread here)
150g of cheddar cheese
2 – 3 tomatoes, thickly sliced
A healthy trickle of Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Set a pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil, when it’s hot add the lardons of smoked pigs cheek or pancetta. Fry them, stirring regularly until they begin to crisp round the edges and release some of their lovely smoky fat. Now scatter in the sliced onions. Stir and fry for a further minute or two. Add the garlic and celery and cook, continuing to stir, until everything is beginning to soften and sweeten nicely. Stir in the chopped tomatoes then after a minute or so add the white beans to the mix and stir to combine. Simmer the beans for 5 minutes in the rich smoky tomato sauce. Now stir in the chopped chard and encourage it to wilt in the heat of the sauce. Season the beans and stir in the chopped parsley. Set aside somewhere warm.
Meanwhile, trickle the bread with olive oil. Slice the cheese and place it on the bread, top with the tomatoes and season lightly. Place the second piece of bread on top and either set the whole thing down on the grill of the fire (like I do here) or place it in a hot heavy based pan set over a medium/high heat.
Cook the toastie for 3 – 4 minutes on each side or until the bread is lovely and crisp and golden and the cheese is bubbling away.
Serve the beans and toasty together and enjoy.