For this recipe we used canned butter beans rather than the dried sort. Though the latter are cheaper and would be better at soaking up the casserole’s sauce, canned beans reduce the cooking time considerably and, let’s be honest, the effort required to soak beans overnight makes the clicking open of a can seem like a worthy indulgence. Feel free to put in the extra graft if you so desire, or even swap the butter beans for cannelloni, kidney or haricot beans, or a mixture of the three!We seriously considered switching on the heating this week. But our reluctance to accept that summer is over means that for the next few weeks any extra warmth needed is just going to have to come from the kitchen. We’ve been mulling over ideas for tagines, curries, pies and thick, chunky soups but what really took our fancy for today’s recipe of the week was a hearty casserole. This sausage and bean casserole, a dish both frugal and intensely satisfying, is a mainstay in our colder-evening cooking repertoire. We love it for its warmth, ease of preparation, ability to fill for less, and the way the creamy butter beans act as the perfect flavour sponge, soaking up the rich, herby sauce.
Ingredients (serves 4):
For the Casserole:
2 tbsp olive oil
8 large sausages
2 sticks of celery
2 red peppers
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tins of peeled cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp Dr Will's Tomato Ketchup
2 tins of butter beans
4 tsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bunch of chives
4 medium sweet potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole pan over a medium heat. Add the sausages and fry for around 8-10 minutes, turning frequently until browned all over. Remove from the pan and place on kitchen paper to soak up any excess fat.
Time to prep the veg. Dice the onion; peel and finely slice the carrot, along with both the celery and garlic; and deseed and chop the red peppers.
Add the onion, carrot, celery and red pepper to the pan, and cook for around 10 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the dried thyme, bay leaf and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the tinned cherry tomatoes and Dr Will's Tomato Ketchup.
Stir well, then push the sausages under the surface of the sauce, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Scrub the sweet potatoes, pat dry, then rub with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast on a baking tray for 40 minutes, or until cooked through.
Add the mustard and the drained butter beans, mix well, and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the beans are warmed through*. Remove the bay leaf, season well, sprinkle with chopped chives and serve with your piping hot sweet potatoes.
*If the sauce is too thick, add hot water until you reach desired consistency.