Recipe


Braised Beans & Bangers with Mustard and Rosemary

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lately I've become enamored of braised beans and sausages. It is a hearty entrée perfect for fall weather, most especially after a day of physical labor cleaning up the garden for winter or raking and mulching leaves for the compost. Lots of protein, some good fat, but also plenty of fiber to ensure a good digestion. Combined with an appropriate salad and a glass of wine it can't be beat for cheering up an evening prematurely dark after the clocks are set back.

Most recipes of this kind are north African or from the eastern Mediterranean, and are a staple of cuisines like Lebanese and Moroccan. They would typically call for broad beans (fava) or chickpeas, with a spicy lamb or beef sausage like merguez. These are always amazing, but I was tossing around ideas about how to translate the concept into more of an American-heartland sensibility, and this recipe was the result. We were quite surprised at how good it was.

I used cranberry beans from the garden. These are a large, plump bean that cook up tender and almost juicy, with a light pink color after the boil has washed away the "cranberry" markings from the skins. We had a few "Irish bangers" from the Charlottesville Fresh Market malingering in the freezer, and they turned out to be a perfect fit. The beans were cooked first, in chicken broth and water, just enough to ensure that they would be very tender when the dish was complete, but not mushy or falling apart.

After browning the sausage lightly I prepared a typical French-style sauté of finely chopped onions and coarsely chopped carrots and celery, right there in the sausage juices with a little olive oil to help things along. Separately I ground some dry but still very aromatic rosemary leaves together with whole mustard seed using mortar and pestle, and threw them in the pan just as the sauté was starting to get tender and carmelize. After another minute or so I deglazed with some inexpensive white wine I keep handy for that purpose, then strained the beans and added them to the pan. I turned in some plain yogurt and let it all come to a low simmer, then put the sausages on top and placed the covered braiser in a medium oven until the sausages were sure to be well cooked, about 40 minutes.

There was more juice in the braiser when I took it out of the oven than I anticipated, but it was very hearty and I just served everything up like a stew in shallow bowls, garnished with minced parsely and fresh cracked pepper. A little bread on the side and a small tomato salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and some feta were the perfect adjuncts. There was general agreement after the first bites that this was among the happiest inventions in recent memory.

As I often do, I have written this as a single-serving recipe. Just multiply everything by the number of people you will serve. If you discover other notably-delicious variations on "braised beans with sausage" I'll be pleased to learn of it. Mucho gusto!

Braised Beans and Bangers with Mustard and Rosemary

2

oz

cranberry beans, dry, or about a cup if fresh

6

oz

Irish banger sausage, links

1/2

cup

chicken stock

1/2

whole

carrot, chopped

1/4

whole

onion, chopped

1/2

stalk

celery, chopped

1

tsp

rosemary, ground

1/2

tsp

mustard seed, ground

1/4

cup

yogurt

1/4

cup

white wine

1

tsp

parsley, chopped, for garnish

1

If using dry beans, soak overnight. Simmer the beans in the broth and just enough water to cover well until tender but not soft, about 1 to 2 hours depending on the beans. Set aside, covered, with reserved juices.

2

Brown the sausage in a heavy braiser, remove and set aside.

3

Put prepared vegetables in braiser and saute until just beginning to carmelize in the sausage juices, Add the rosemary and mustard and continue to saute for a minute or so until the aromas are released. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Strain the beans and add to the pan with the yogurt, and mix well. Add reserved bean juice if too dry, but anticipate that further juices will be released during braising.

4

Bring braiser to a low simmer, top with the sausage and a sprinkle of salt, cover, and place in 350F (180C) oven for 30-40 minutes, until sausage is well cooked.

5

Serve in a shallow bowl, garnished with parsley and a little cracked pepper. Goes well with a white vin ordinaire.

Servings: 1

Yield: one serving

Cooking Times

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 2 hours

Inactive Time: 12 hours

Degree of Difficulty

Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Oven Temperature: 350°F

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: Entire recipe (17.5 ounces).

Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving

Calories

748.42

Calories From Fat (45%)

338.05

% Daily Value

Total Fat 37.58g

58%

Saturated Fat 13.05g

65%

Cholesterol 78.02mg

26%

Sodium 1760.95mg

73%

Potassium 1556.67mg

44%

Total Carbohydrates 50.77g

17%

Fiber 14.19g

57%

Sugar 6.19g

 

Protein 42.28g

85%

Tips

For the most piquant flavors, use fresh dried rosemary and whole mustard seed, coarsely ground with mortar and pestle during prep. If Irish bangers are not available, try brats, knockwurst, or another mild northern European sausage

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finis