If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Monday, 25 March 2013

Sausages with Beans and Peppers

Last week, my dad was here for a couple of nights.  Flipping through Nigelissima, I realised it had been quite some time since I'd cooked something new (that wasn't a healthy treat).  I gave dad a choice of two dinner options - he chose this one as he's not allowed sausages at home.  Sorry for outing you, dad... [Insert eyelid flutter here].  I'll give here what I actually did, which differed a tiny bit from Nigella's ingredients but not by much.  (Italian sausages?  Tinned cherry tomatoes? Garlic oil?  Red vermouth? Nope).

1 x 15mL tablespoon olive oil (okay, I just estimated this one)
450g sausages
1/4 cup red wine leftover from the night before
2 x 400g cans butterbeans, drained
1 x 290g jar roasted peppers, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste (I think I may have forgotten these...)

Heat the oil in a shallow, flameproof casserole or heavy-based saucepan that comes with a lid (I used my large frying pan which is heavy based but lidless), and brown the sausages.
Take the pan off the heat for a moment, and pour in the wine, then put it back on the heat and let the wine bubble up a bit.  Add the drained beans, the chopped peppers, and the tomatoes.
Half-fill the empty tomato tin with water, then throw this in, too, before adding the bay leaves (and salt and pepper, if you remember).
Bring to a bubble, then turn the heat down to low, clamp on a lid (if you have one) and let it simmer for 15 minutes until the sausages are cooked through. 
Remove the lid, turn up the heat a bit and simmer robustly for a further 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
Take off the heat altogether, then - using tongs, for ease - remove the sausages to a chopping board and cut them into thick slices, on a gentle diagonal if possible (looks classier that way).  You can leave them whole, but they go further sliced.  Return the sausage slices to the pan and dish out from there, or ladle the beans into shallow bowls, adding the sliced sausages on top (first option for me).  Either way, serve with hunks of bread for people to fare la scarpetta - dunk - as they eat.  (All right, I didn't read the recipe in full before getting the groceries - or indeed, getting to the very last step.  At least it was just minus dunking bread and not something really important, like 'marinade overnight').
Just for aesthetics, next time I would garnish with some herbs - parsley or basil would go well, I think.  Especially for a week-night dinner, this was a fabulous option.  So easy, so quick, so substitutable (that's actually a word).  I need to buy more roasted peppers...

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