European, Tasting

Leftovers: Spanish pork and olives

Leftover pork turned into Spanish pork

First of all, I have to make a confession. I didn’t cook this dish. My wife did all the hard work, so I can’t claim anything apart from writing this post.

She used the leftover pork from the weekend curry. Our daughters love olives and tomatoes, so this recipe ticks all the right boxes.

The Spanish pork recipe is from Delia Smith’s iconic Complete Cookery Course. My book is about 15 years old. It has no cover and the spine has all but disappeared. I daren’t move it from the bookshelf because it’s held together by air. It might dissolve into a heap of dust.

But the book has stood the test of time just like Delia’s reassuring and simple recipes. Spanish pork was first published in 1978 and the version below has been downloaded from for your delectable pleasure.

My wife changed a few things from the recipe below, mainly for convenience, and adjusting the ingredients for young palates.

First of all, there’s no red wine. Instead chicken stock is used. And because we want a quick and easy meal, tinned tomatoes replace fresh, skinned ones. Finally, because we have already cooked the pork, my wife gives the meat a quick introduction to the frying pan, but nothing more.

The dish is simple, and for a Monday is a treat in my book. Or should I say Delia’s book.


First skin the tomatoes (if using fresh and not tinned): pour boiling water over them and leave them for 1 minute before draining and slipping off their skins. Then roughly chop them.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the casserole over a high heat, and brown the pork on all sides, about 6 pieces at a time, removing them to a plate as they’re browned.

Then, keeping the heat high, add the rest of the oil, then the onions and pepper, and brown them a little at the edges – about 6 minutes.

Now add the garlic, stir that around for about 1 minute, then return the browned meat to the casserole and add all the thyme, tomatoes (fresh or tinned), red wine (or stock), olives and bay leaves. Bring everything up to a gentle simmer, seasoning well, then put the lid on and transfer the casserole to the middle shelf of the oven for 1¼ hours.

Serve with potatoes and vegetables to your liking.


2lb (900g) pork, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1½ oz (40 g) black olives

1½ oz (40 g) green olives

1 lb (450 g) ripe red tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into half-moon shapes

1 large red pepper, deseeded and sliced into 1¼ inch (3 cm) strips

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 heaped teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus a few small sprigs

10 fl oz (275 ml) red wine

2 bay leaves

salt and freshly milled black pepper