Monday, May 13, 2013

Italian Sausage & Bean Stew

Winter food is great, isn't it? I love it - the hearty, slow-cooked stews, the delicious soups and crispy roasts are the reason I love the cooler weather. That and the fact that chunky jumpers and big coats can hide my over-indulgence in the aforementioned delicacies.

I made a decision to try and get as many legumes into our diet as possible this winter. Not an easy task considering my daughters are convinced that the sole purpose of legumes are to give you wind and hence, they aren't interested. 

But  I have started to turn them...slowly but surely. I've worked out it's all about the flavours accompanying them. In today's recipe, the tomatoes and sausages steal the beans' thunder - which is a perfect disguise for the little balls of goodness as far as my girls are concerned. 

I found this recipe in the August 2010 edition of Australian Good Food. It's quick and easy and full of winter goodness. My girls love it - which is saying a lot. Hope you do too.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

320g of Italian style sausages (other types of sausages work well - the Italian are just more flavorsome)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 garlic gloves chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 x 400g cans cherry tomatoes
2 x 400g cans of borlotti beans (cannellini beans, butter beans and chickpeas work just as well)
200g green beans, trimmed and halved

The fun bit

1. Squeeze the sausage meat from the casings and roll into walnut-sized meatballs. 
2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on high. Pop the meatballs into the pan and brown them all over. Remove from pan and keep warm.
3. Reduce the heat to medium - add the garlic, onion, chilli flakes and fennel seeds and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Throw in the tomatoes and two cups of water and bring to the boil. Pop in the borlotti beans and meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for another 5 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked. 

Lovely served with crusty bread. I serve it with brown rice - the girls love it and the rice absorbs the sauce beautifully. 

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