Monday, March 25, 2013

Bean and Sausage Stew

~ Italian cannellini beans ~
On Saturday, I did a lot of outside work and, as usual, came inside ravished with hunger. Dave used to shake his head as I'd stand in front of the refrigerator or chef pantry door, waiting for either food to jump into my hands or inspiration to strike. On Saturday, the former didn't happen but, thank God, inspiration eventually struck.

I'm a huge fan of soups, stews and cassoulets; they are nourishing, healthful, generally easy, keep well and, in the form of soups and stews, relatively quick to prepare. Or can be when the pantry is stocked with basic ingredients. I am not a slave to a recipe nor to tradition, especially when it comes to something like a cassoulet. In colder weather, my aim is to feed myself, or a crowd, with something nourishing, easy and with stick to the ribs intentions. In warmer weather, the fare is somewhat lighter.

~ Le Crueset 3.5 enameled oven ~
On Saturday the pantry yielded fresh bay leaves, white beans (aka cannonelli beans), black beans, home canned tomatoes and the refrigerator gave up carrots and chicken mozzarella sausage. 
NOTE: I forgot to mention the paprika, bought in Budapest in July 2010. It adds such a depth of flavor...smokey, rich...sooooo good! This paprika has yet to be opened because I bought a pound of loose paprika and this is back-up for when the loose paprika runs out.

The sausage was browned in a bit of EVOO then the canned beans and tomatoes were added. Next, most of a bag of carrots were sliced and added to the mix using my French enamel  Le Creuset 3.5 quart oven. This little enamel oven is a workhorse and I've used it on both stove top and oven or, in the case of a lot of my cooking, it starts out on the stove stop and is finished in the oven. Marvelous! My little vintage orange oven, don't think they make this color now, was found at an antique shop for $12; today I found a different color, same piece, on Amazon for $229.95! I love this stuff but I'm not about to pay full price, that's crazy.
~ bean and sausage stew ~
Anyway, my stew was cooked on the stove top until the carrots were tooth tender and I served it with a big glass of cold milk and home made bread. I forgot to mention, on Friday I made five loaves of bread and gave three of them away. The two small loaves I kept are wonderful and, when toasted, were full flavored, toothsome and the perfect addition to the hearty stew. 

~ home made bread ~
Generally, I'm not a fan of leftovers but when they are this delicious, it's a joy to keep eating. There's enough for three or four meals...what a blessing...and should take me through Tuesday before worrying about another substantial lunch or supper.
When I cook for a crowd, this is the enamel oven I use. It's a thrift store find and about 5 or 5.5 quarts and is a knock-off of Le Creuset but still is a workhorse and can be used on stove top and in the oven. Since Dave died, I've given away a lot of cookware, having found a few really good pieces are able to take me through just about anything I cook. My cook ware looks a bit rough and has a few dings and nicks but it still works like brand new. What more could I ask?

Blessings ~ home canned food ~ EVOO ~ enameled cookware at great buys ~ full pantry ~

20 comments:

Hartwood Roses said...

I do the same thing ... stand and stare and shop the pantry to find inspiration for dinner!

Soup is one of the few meals that actually gets better when it's left over. (We had leftover Potato Cauliflower soup for dinner last night.) Tonight's dinner is already planned. I have kielbasa, kale, potatoes, and white beans. The addition of some onion and chicken stock, and maybe a few tomatoes, should result in soup ... we'll see how it goes.

Stay warm!

Monkeywrangler said...

I have a pair of cast iron skillets I would be loathe to part with...and eventually I would like to get a small dutch oven. The one I have now is fine for the 5 of us, but in a few years it will just be DH & I at home, and no need for a monster heavy dutch oven.

Maple Lane said...

Ga is having very strong wind and snow flurries today. Your meal would taste mighty fine tonight!

RobynFromSimplyme said...

Oh that stew looks heavenly.. I love your cookware..I am of the mindset if it still works, no need to replace it and usually good taste better in an old piece of cookware although I can not say why but it usually does..
Robyn

M.K. said...

Both those casseroles are very fine. I'd love to have one like your Crueset, but can't afford that. I have a lot of cast iron that I've accumulated over the years. My mother gave me a cast iron chicken fryer/lid for a wedding gift -- man, has that thing done a load of cooking! Very well seasoned. Your stew looks yummy!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Sounds like a delicious meal. I've never had those cannellini beans.
Homemade bread....what a treat!

annie said...

sounds wonderful, what's your source for the sausage? have a great week on the farm!

Leigh said...

That looks so good! But I've never thought of paprika as much more than to sprinkle on deviled eggs for color. You've got me thinking....

Rural Women Rock said...

Yum! You cook like my mom- she's always making wonderful things from nothing. I have the same orange pot:)))

myletterstoemily said...

thank you for the yummy recipe and photos!
i could eat leftovers over and over again,
but my family balks a little!

Pom Pom said...

I'm hungry now. I wish I lived closer to the farm!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I bought my first enameled cast iron pot last year to make gumbo and jambalaya. After drooling over Le Crueset I ended up with a "lesser" brand but it still does an amazing job. Your stew looks relish! Thanks for the recipe.

Timi said...

The paprika is the most important ingredient in a stew!!! :o))) Your stew looks yummy!

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Sweet Friend, Now you have me hungry. What a wonderful stew you made and so hearty. Love it!!When can I stop over for dinner. Your homemade bread looks like the perfect compliment for your yummy stew.
Love the dutch oven you found at the thrift store. What a treasure that is.
Enjoy the upcoming springtime and blessings for a special Easter week.
Hugs!! Celestina Marie

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Oh, Yes! Your stew is all that you intended and most delicious looking! I could eat that in any weather or season :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

My favourite sort of meal.
As much fun to cook as it is to eat.
xo

Andrea said...


Hello.

If you want, I will send you paprika from Hungary :-)

Nancy said...

I am definitely going to give this soup a try. Sounds like something we would love! I have only ever cooked in cast iron. My husband brings one home every time he finds a good deal at a flea market or garage sale. I keep saying I have enough and have even given a few away. But he says he can't pass them up. haha My mother has a pot like yours though and I have good memories of her cooking some awesome grub in it, so asked her to "put my name on it". :)

Sparky Hudson said...

Yum, that looks good. I too stand in front of food expecting it to fix itself. If my husband wasn't the cook, we'd either eat out often or starve or have snacks. I'm into finger food. ~:)

Kim said...

That sounds absolutely yummy! I could live on soups and stews all winter long, and paired with home made bread? Wow. :-)

I just might keep an eye out for a small Crueset knockoff. I have a larger All-Clad dutch oven (swooooon! it was and is a treasured gift!), but a smaller one would be good. Thanks for the information!

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