3 weeks ago
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Election Day is less than a week away, so of course I've started thinking about the menu! In 2000, before we or any of our friends had kids, we threw a returns-watching party on Election Night. I won't tell you if we celebrated or mourned that night, as this is not that kind of blog, but I will tell you that we SURE WERE GLAD that we had eaten a stick-to-your-ribs kind of dinner like sausage and beans to get us through a long night of states being givethed and takethed away.
So here we are, eight years later. Given that the polls will still be open in California when my bedtime rolls around, we won't be having a returns-watching party this year, but we do so love a manufactured tradition in our house, so you can bet that we'll stick with our traditional Election Night sausage and white bean supper! In fact, as if by fate, an email from Cooking Light landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago: "42 Slow Cooker Favorites," and it included this recipe for "Tiny French Beans with Smoked Sausage."
Cooking Light recommends that you use "flageolets," which are small french beans. While I am willing to run around town looking for some crazy foods, dried beans ain't one of them. Cooking Light does helpfully provide an online source for flageolets, Indian Harvest. I know that any day now, I am going to cross into that "crazy foodie" territory and start trolling the internet for specialty ingredients, but you can rest assured that my first online food purchase will not be beans.
Okay! Now that I am finished disparaging beans and declaring them not worthy of my time, let's move on to my bean dinner, shall we? First, the ingredient rundown. To the surprise of no one, Publix did not have flageolets. They had Great Northern beans, so rather than using "tiny French beans," I used "medium American beans."
I used fresh rosemary instead of either dried or fresh thyme. Because I knew that even if "my guy" doesn't win, fresh rosemary makes everything seem a little better. And I threw a bay leaf in there, just 'cause. And for extra credit, I used some leftover homemade chicken stock instead of canned.
This is an easy dish to put together. Brown up your sausage. Then saute up some shallots and garlic. Rinse and sort either your fancy pants beans or your regular old beans, depending on how lazy of a shopper you were.
Regular ol' beans:
And then mix it all up in your magic Crock Pot, and go vote!
The recipe said to cook this on high for 8 hours, but mine was definitely done after 6.5 hours. It was actually looking a little angry by then, to be honest with you, and I don't think it would have enjoyed the extra hour and a half in the hot tub. Next time, I might try it on low and just see how long it takes.
This is a great fall dish -- hearty, comforting, and quick to put together. And who doesn't love coming home and having dinner ready and waiting? When you're in the mood for a hot bowl of something, add this one to your short list!
And thanks again, Clara, for generously sharing your Cooking Light Night idea and avatar with us!
Tiny French Beans with Smoked Sausage, from Cooking Light, March 2003
8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
2 pounds smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup minced shallots
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups dried flageolets or other dried white beans, (about 1 pound)
2 cups water
1/4 cup minced fresh or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan, and place in an electric slow cooker. Heat the oil in pan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Sort and wash beans. Add beans, shallot mixture, water, and the remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 8 hours or until beans are tender.
Calories:397 (30% from fat)
Fat:13.1g (sat 3.7g,mono 4.3g,poly 3.7g)