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
|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...