Thursday, 10 January 2013

Comforting food for a winter's day: Sausage and Bean Casserole

The slow cooker is a wonderful invention! And so is the sausage... And the humble bean. Combine all these wonderful things with a few other wonderful things and you get the most perfect supper for a cold winter’s day. It’s comforting and tasty, with savoury and sweet flavours balancing each other wonderfully, and with a beautiful hint of smokiness too.

Now, usually I get my ‘sweet’ mostly from the can of baked beans I throw in – and I will do this again when busyness demands! – and my ‘smoky’ from chopped, fried (smoked) bacon; but today I didn’t have any bacon and I wanted to use up a tin of navy beans that’s been gathering dust in the cupboard.  So the smoky is coming from smoked paprika, and the sweet from tomato paste and some maple syrup, as well as the sweet potato. With locally grown or produced sausage, onion, garlic and maple syrup, and herb salt used to season, I am pretty happy with the ingredients of this particular stew, and can’t wait to eat it later once the slow cooker has done its magic! We’ll serve it with jacket potatoes (baked) – their skins crispy from the olive oil and sea salt, and their insides mashed with local sea-salted butter. Mmm! Only three hours to wait! J

4 large sausages from our local butcher, in chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large organic onion, diced
2 cloves organic garlic, crushed
  ½ red pepper, diced
Large tin chopped tomatoes
Small tin organic tomato paste
Large tin white navy beans (haricot beans)
A handful of leftover black beans (optional!!)
2 Tbsp or so maple syrup
Some generous shakes of smoked paprika
Some more generous shakes of herb salt (e.g. Herbamare)
Some grindings of black pepper
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only

How to make it:
Saute the onion, garlic, sausage, sweet potato and red pepper in a little EVOO (olive oil).
Throw into the slow cooker along with all the ingredients and cook on high for around 3 hours. And it’s THAT easy!!  ENJOY!