Monday, August 27, 2012

Last cold winter night meal for the season


This is a rustic and hearty meal on any cold night, but when we are experiencing some lovely warm days in this last month of winter, its a quick meal to prepare after a hard day’s work when we get one of those surprisingly cold evenings.  Ideal for a family meal, it would equally satisfy a bunch of friends with a nice bottle of red, some crusty white bread, and a simple green salad of fresh, crisp leaves with a good home made dressing. 

The dish was inspired by a recipe from Rick Stein COAST TO COAST (BBC Books, 2008).  I have added a kilo of good quality everyday sausages made by the local butcher, roasted chat potatoes, and extra beans so the dish will very economically serve a larger group.  If you are preparing the dish for children, use a mild chorizo, otherwise a spicy one such as a parrilla chorizo picante is ideal.


2 x 400g cans of butter beans, or dried butter beans soaked overnight
500g small chat potatoes
1kg thin pork and veal sausages (Italian seasoning is ideal), in natural skins.
1 spicy chorizo sausage  
Olive oil
5 garlic gloves finely chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 cup of red wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
4 tablespoons chopped flat-leafed parsley

If using dried beans, drain the soaked beans, and place in a large pot with lots of water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour or until tender.  Drain and set aside.  If you are in a hurry, canned beans are quick and almost as good, rinsed and drained.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200oC.  Cut the potatoes in half and add to a heavy baking dish and generously drizzle olive oil all over, then season generously with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Place into oven, and roast the potatoes about half an hour or until they are golden and crisp.  Turn them frequently so they get nice and crispy but not burnt, on all sides.

While the potatoes are roasting, cut the chorizo into thin slices.  Put a large splash of olive oil into a heavy casserole dish on the stove top heat over high heat, then add the sausages and half a cup of water.  Prick the sausages to allow the fats to escape, and place a lid on.  The water will steam the sausages, and eventually evaporate.  As they start to fry in their own juices, the sausages will also start to brown.   Remove the lid and cut the sausages into chunks.  Once all the water has evaporated, add the chorizo and onion.   Cook until the chorizo slices are just browned on both sides, then add the garlic and cook until transparent.  

Add the red wine and cook until almost all the juices have reduced to almost nothing.  Add the tomatoes and thyme, and butter beans.    Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, add half the potatoes, then scatter the parsley over.   Serve in warmed bowls with the rest of the potatoes scattered on top.