Monday, October 29, 2012

Preparing Dried Beans l Sausage and Beans Cassoulet by Margaret Ullrich

We've got snow.
And it's staying.
Forget the light salads.
Time to make a casserole.


Lately the stores have been having sales on sausages.
They freeze well, so stock up.
Get a nice variety.

While you're in the store pick up a few bags of dried beans.
Yes, I know they also come in cans, ready to cook.
But dried is cheaper.
And you can control the salt content.


Dried beans are so easy to prepare.
Really.
Worried about 'the gas' factor?
Draining the cooking water will help prevent that.

No, I don't know why.


                        Preparing Dried Beans 


In a large pot place
  6 Cups beans
18 Cups water
Bring to a boil.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat and let stand 1 hour.
Drain the cooking water.
Rinse beans and use in a recipe.


Okay... time to enjoy some home prepared beans.

If you don't have time - or want to use some canned beans you've bought -
Substitute 
1 19 ounce can of beans for 2 Cups of home prepared beans.
But first drain the can's liquid, rinse the beans and drain the water.


Equal parts of kidney, black and romano beans go well in this casserole.
But, if you only have 2 out of 3, or other beans, no problem.
Even using one type of beans would be fine.
The variety just gives extra flavor and color.

You can also use beef broth or water instead of the wine.


                        Sausage and Beans Cassoulet 

Serves 8
Preheat oven 375ยบ

In a large ovenproof pot place
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 Cups prepared beans 
2 Cups chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Cups sliced carrots
1 Cup fresh mushrooms, halved
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 19 ounce can of tomatoes, chopped, with its juice
Combine the ingredients.
Add
1/2 Cup red wine

Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours.
While baking, stir the mixture 3 or 4 times.

Serve with crusty bread.

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