Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sausage and Bean casserole with Chipotle

In the blogging fraternity of which I am a part there has recently been a bit of a surge of interest in cooking with dried beans.

 I still have a few of my home-grown beans left from last year, so I decided to use some to make my own bean-based dish. Of course, I'm not a vegetarian so my dish does have meat in it as well as beans, and I'm a chilli fan too so it also includes some lovely smoky Chipotle. I have to admit that my inspiration for this is derived from blogposts by two fellow bloggers: David Offutt who wrote about Black Beans and Rice with Chipotle Tomato Sauce, and Karen Burns Booth who offered us a Cheat's French Style Cassoulet, and my dish is a combination of some elements of both of these.

Sausage and Bean Casserole with Chipotle

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
  • 100g dried beans (I used a mixture - mostly the big white "Coco Blanc à Rames" aka Lazy Housewife. You could just as easily use tinned ones.)
  • 1 x 250ml tub of home-made tomato sauce (you could substitute this with a tin of chopped tomatoes)
  • 400g good sausages (I used Waitrose own Free Range Lincolnshire Pork ones, but Toulouse ones would have been even better!)
  • 6 dried Chipotle chillis (Adjust quantities to taste)
  • 2 x medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large cloves of Garlic
  • Approx 500ml of good stock (I used chicken stock made from the leftovers of the previous day's roast chicken)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Small quantity of vegetable oil for frying
If you haven't tried Chipotle yet, I strongly recommend that you do. The Chipotle is a dried, smoked chilli. It is not hot, but it imparts a wonderful smoky warmth to what ever it is cooked in. You need to re-hydrate them before using them, but please don't discard the water that you use for this, because if you do you will be wasting a lot of flavour. Since the chillis themselves can be a bit fibrous, I tend to use them only as a flavouring ingredient, and I usually leave them whole so that I can fish them out and discard them towards the end of the cooking time.

Yes, they do look like Prunes - but I assure you they taste different!

  • Soak the beans in water for at least 6 hours, drain, and then cook them thoroughly until soft but not mushy (or use tinned ones!)
  • Soak the Chipotle in warm water for about an hour. Retain the soaking-water
  • Brown the sausages in a frying pan, using a splash of oil. Remove from pan
  • In the same pan, cook the onions over a low heat until translucent but not brown
  • Crush the garlic into the cooking onions and cook for a further two minutes
  • Put sausages and onion/garlic mix into a deep casserole dish
  • Add the re-hydrated Chipotles, along with the water in which they were soaked
  • Add the stock, beans, tomato sauce and seasoning
  • Cook, covered,  in a low oven (I use about 160C) for approx 90 mins, stirring occasionally
  • Check the consistency once or twice, adding water if necessary. You are aiming for a sauce that is not too thick and yet not sloppy.
  • Immediately before serving, remove the Chipotles, if possible
  • Serve with rice, pasta or potatoes, accompanied by a nice fruity red wine!

Note: this is a very tolerant dish. If you fully cook the sausages in the frying-pan rather than just browning them, and use tinned beans and a bit less stock, you could make this dish in about 40 minutes. I prefer to cook it more slowly though. I'm sure it enhances both texture and flavour. And there's something very satisfying about knowing there is a casserole full of lovely things bubbling away gently in the oven, whilst you sip your first glass of wine...


  1. that looks lovely indeed - but tell me, why do you have to add salad leaves on the side of the plate, as if they were a cheat ? A nice side bowl with a fine home-made vinaigrette would be more stylish and a lot tastier, methink.

  2. I haven't heard of Chipotles before. Sound good. Will see if I can find them locally. I like to use beans in meals. I notice a clear improvement in stamina when I remember to eat them a lot. (Fortunately, they have never done anything but good for my digestion too.)

  3. It looks so good. I have not tried Chipotles but it sounds like something I would like. As we all know by now Phil won't eat beans but this might be one of those recipes (like chili and red beans and rice and smoke sausage) that I will have to make anyway, just because I love it and he can go (hang) something else.

  4. It looks so delicious. I have never herd of chipotles before. I should check if its available here in Bangalore 'cos I would sure like to try it.

  5. Oh dear yet another way to have chillies! I'm sure I'd like this minus the chilli!

  6. oooh, yes please!... those sausages look so succulent and moreish... I love the dried bean, they really make this a hearty dish... divine

  7. Looks great! I'm preparing a curry night menu at the moment which wouldn't be the same without Tarka Dhal a favourite of mine.

  8. Chipotles are dried smoked Jalapeno. This dish looks wonderful, warming and hearty!

  9. That looks really tasty. Comfort food for a cold February day.

  10. Looks very tasty, although perhaps minus the chilli heat. I must try cooking with beans, I keep seeing these wonderful recipes! I've currently got a paprika beef casserole type thing cooking away in the aga - just added the potatoes and it should be ready in just under 2 hours.

  11. Ooh... I have some local, pasture-raised sausage links in the freezer, our own smoked dried chilies, and some oft-neglected dried beans in the pantry that are making their way into this recipe sometime soon!!!

  12. Looks delicious and I am sure so it was!


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