2 tbsp olive oil
1 head of fennel, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
1 onion, peeled, chopped
pinch dried chilli flakes
175ml/6fl oz red wine
1½ tsp smoked paprika
750g/1½lb pork mince
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 medium cooking chorizos, chopped
1 x 400g/14fl oz canned white beans (such as butter beans or haricot beans), drained, rinsed
For the tomato sauce, bring a pan of water to the boil. Lower the tomatoes into the boiling water and boil for ten seconds, then remove them from the pan using a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice-cold water.
When the tomatoes have cooled, peel and discard the skins. Chop the tomatoes and discard the seeds. (Alternatively freeze the seeds and use them in stocks and sauces.) Continue to chop the tomato flesh to a pulp.
Heat half of the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots, thyme leaves and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.
Add the remaining olive oil and the chopped tomato pulp, then stir well to combine.
Cut a disc of greaseproof paper 1cm/½in smaller than the diameter of your saucepan. Cover the surface of the tomato sauce with the greaseproof paper disc (this will prevent the sauce from drying out as it reduces and cooks). Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cook gently for at least an hour, or until the sauce has thickened.
When the mixture has cooked and thickened, set aside. (NB: Any sauce you do not use in this recipe can be left to cool, then split into portions and frozen until needed.)
For the stew, heat one tablespoon of the oil in a casserole over a medium heat. Add the fennel, carrots, pepper, garlic, onion and dried chilli and fry, stirring regularly, for 6-8 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.
Add the red wine and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Add the tomato sauce and the smoked paprika and return the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened.
In a bowl, mix together the pork mince, crushed fennel seeds and ground cumin, using your hands.
Pinch off pieces of the mixture the size of ping-pong balls and roll into balls.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a separate frying pan over a medium heat. Add the meatballs, in batches, and fry for 2-3 minutes, turning regularly, until browned all over. Repeat the process with the remaining meatballs.
Add the browned meatballs and the chopped chorizo to the tomato stew mixture. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Stir in the white beans and heat through for a further 1-2 minutes.
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