I have a thing for smoky, aged or cured pork products: I love them. Now that I’m gluten free however, I thought most of my cured meat loving days were over – that is until I was invited by Speck Alto Adige PGI to participate in their “Speckulator” program and create a recipe with their GF, Italian dry cured smoked ham.
I was super excited for the challenge!
I received the package over Christmas and really LOVED how smoky and peppery it smelled and the delicious, smooth taste of the meat was something to be savored. I wanted to plate it immediately with some figs and eat it all right there, on the spot. It took some self-control to put it in my fridge and start dreaming up the endless recipe possibilities!
Before we start cooking, what is Speck Alto Adige PGI exactly? It’s a merging of Northern European and Mediterranean traditions: the meat is dry cured for three weeks then it’s gently smoked at low temperatures. This process ensures that the meat is mildly smoky. The smoking happens gradually, for a few hours at a time over a period of several months. Cooking it low and slow allows the smoke to penetrate through the meat and create a delicious balance of flavors. It’s like a precious gem that can be used in a variety of ways to enhance any dish.
I layered it on white pizza with garlic and caramelized onions; in red sauce to add some depth of flavor; with roasted potatoes and garlic to add a delicious dimension to an ordinary side dish. The dish that I’m sharing with you today was the BIGGEST hit in my house – Winter White Bean Stew. My kids went crazy over this recipe and I know yours will too!
Lets start cooking:
Winter White Bean Stew with Smoky Speck Alto Adige PGI
- 4-5 thick slices Speck Alto Adige PGI, roughly chopped into small pieces
- 1 tbs. olive oil, divided
- 1 tbs. butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced small
- 4 cloves garlic, diced small
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- A pinch of Sea Salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 4 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 (15oz) can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 cups arugula (or baby spinach)
- Heat ½ tbs. olive oil in a large Dutch oven, or heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat and crisp the ham completely.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove ham to a paper towel lined plate and set it aside.
- Return the pot to medium-high heat and add remaining olive oil and butter.
- Add in the diced onion and sauté until it’s softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in about 2/3 of the reserved, crisped ham, as well as the oregano seasoning, the sea salt and the pepper.
- Add the white beans, and stir to combine, then add the tomatoes.
- Gently simmer the stew for 30 minutes with partially covered with lid; stirring occasionally.
- Turn the heat off and finish the stew by adding in the lemon zest and the arugula.
- Serve the stew with some nice, crusty bread to dip, and garnish with some of the remaining crisped Speck Alto Adige PGI.
Cooks note– slicing up this meat can be a bit of a tricky thing and this one is best served chunky in stews or sliced very thin. A too-thick piece can be tough and chewy with unpleasant big pieces of fat so if you don’t have a deli or meat slicer at home, I recommend using a very sharpe knife to slice the meat to your desired thickness.
I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post, just a delicious sampling of their product and all pictures and opinions are my own.