Digest

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Feeding families


Wellington's Jules van Costello is a beer, wine and food writer, as well as being the co-owner of Hillside Kitchen & Cellar, The Ramen Shop and Cult Wine. He's an experienced sommelier who also has a keen interest in beer, and is the author of Brewed: A Guide to the Craft Beer of New Zealand. He's currently cooking hearty wintry dishes....

I grew up in Hawkes Bay where both my mother and her partner worked for Wattie's (now Heinz) for most of their careers. This has given me a real appreciation of how important well made canned and frozen food can be, both as part of a food economy but also, alongside fresh food, in feeding families – especially those on low incomes and especially in years like this when the weather forces up the price of fresh food.

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup Serves 3-4
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 200g fresh chorizo, chopped
  • 1/2 dried chipotle pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (I use Orcona from Hawkes Bay)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 200g chopped veg (I use carrots and celery, but almost anything will work, from cauli to cabbage)
  • 1L chicken or vegetable stock or water
  • 400g can whole tomatoes
  • 400g can black beans, drained, rinsed


  • To serve: lime wedges, diced red onion, coriander leaves, tortilla strips, avocado, sour cream, fresh feta – any or all of these work well

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then sauté the chorizo for about 5 minutes. Add the spices, onions, garlic and mixed chopped veges and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to as low as possible and cook for as long as possible, stirring occasionally (ideally one or two hours – it's all good if it burns a little). The longer you cook it at this stage, the more flavour you get out of the soup. Add the stock, tomatoes and beans and cook for a further 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Blend if desired. (I prefer blending in winter but go for a looser, wetter soup in summer). Garnish with what you will (lime, red onion, tortilla strips...) and eat immediately.

    To me, this is real beer food, and I can't think of anything better than a traditional Vienna Lager – a style you are more likely to see today in Mexico than in Austria. The Kereru Maidstone Lager from Upper Hutt (just up the road for me) is one of the best Kiwi examples of the style.
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