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The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
Start by getting your biggest flameproof casserole dish and sealing the pork chunks in the oil – they don’t have to be very well browned. Do in batches, then transfer to a plate and tip three-quarters of the onions, the celery, bay and oregano into the dish. Add a splash more oil, if you need, and fry gently until softened.
Tip in the spices, stir for 1 min to toast, then return the pork to the dish. Crumble in the stock cube and stir in the tomatoes, cocoa, sugar, 2 tbsp of the vinegar, the zest and juice from 1 orange, and 3 of the chilli halves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and leave to bubble for 1 hr.
Meanwhile, finely chop the reserved chilli half and mix with the remaining onions, the spring onions, and red wine vinegar and the zest and juice from the last orange. Keep cold in the fridge.
After 1 hr, stir the sweet potatoes and red peppers into the stew, then re-cover and simmer for another 30 mins.
When the stew has about 15 mins to go, make the dumplings. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine crumbs, then stir in the cornmeal, bicarb and sweetcorn. Finally, mix in the buttermilk and all but 1 tbsp of the egg to make a soft dough. Season with some salt and roll the mixture into 12 soft dumplings, then roll in a little more cornmeal to coat the tops. Brush the tops with the reserved beaten egg.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Stir the beans into the stew, then taste for seasoning. Sit 6 of the dumplings on top of the stew and the rest on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Put both in the oven – the stew without its lid – and cook for 25 mins until the dumplings are golden and risen.
Carry the stew straight to the table, and sprinkle over a little more oregano before spooning into bowls. Serve the extra dumplings alongside for those who fancy another one, and the onion relish.