Food for Thought with Suzanne Dunaway
Mongetes amb botifarra (sausage and beans, to you and me!)
I do an easy facsimile of this (and many recipes because they often taste better when simplified!) as it is not always easy to find the indigenous Catalan sausages that are used in this dish, seasoned with lovely spices and even sometimes made with goose meat instead of pork! Why not give banger boffin, Corinne Carroll, a call and see what tasty morsels she suggests?
My trick with the exquisite lingots beans of France is to place them in cold water, bring the water to a boil and turn off the fire. Let them sit in the water until cool, then pour out all the water and with it goes the possible well-known problem with beans! Always works.
And having a huge and lovely sage bush provides me with fresh leaves to crisp in olive oil with garlic and add to the beans at the end of their cooking. As for the sausages you choose to use, I can suggest the ones from Toulouse, which are fat and fairly mild, but I put them in a plastic bag with chopped garlic, crushed fennel seeds, a pinch of espelette ground pepper and a bit of olive oil to gather flavor from my favorite sausage ingredients, fennel (or anise seed) being the pungent addition to so many Italian sausages.
- 4 fat sausages of your choice, pierced with a fork and resting in a bag overnight with crushed fennel seed, espelette pepper, chopped garlic, paprika and olive oil
- 2 cups dry white lingots beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 sweet Cevenne onion, chopped fine
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- A handful of fresh sage leaves, toasted in ¼ cup of olive oil
In a large pot, put the beans and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a simmer, turn off the fire and let the beans cool in the water, then discard it.
In the bean pot, add the olive oil, garlic and onion and stir it around a bit, then add the white wine and water to cover the beans, leaving about 1 inch of liquid above the beans.
Bring the beans to a simmer and cover, cooking them on low heat for about 1 hour, making sure that the beans are covered. At this point I might add a bit more wine or chicken broth for flavor, but water is fine.
Test for tenderness and add the toasted sage leaves and olive oil.
Add salt to taste.
Pierce the sausages again in one or two places and grill them in a skillet until nice and brown, adding the resulting juice to the beans before serving.
A nice glass of our local red goes very well with this.
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