Habas alla Catalana (Bean and sausage stew with mint)

Like cassoulet, but much cheaper and faster to make

It’s still chilly out, but the sun is shining. I want winter food, but I also want to wear skirts without tights even if I get goosebumps.   This recipe combines fresh springtime flavors like lamb and mint with a hearty bean stew in a tomato base.  It’s adapted from Joyce Goldstein’s Mediterranean the Beautiful Cookbook, which looks to have adjusted in price since last we cooked a recipe from it.  Go get yourself a copy.

When I say “adapted from” I also mean “simplified.” Joyce soaks the beans overnight and cooks them from scratch.  I crack open two cans of white beans, drain, and rinse them.  Joyce suggests chorizo or butifarra (a sweet lamb sausage).  I used merguez.  Recipe below:

First, I grilled 1 lb. of merguez sausages in a hot skillet until done and set them aside to cool.

I cooked about 2 oz. of pancetta in a little olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pot. I took the pancetta out with a slotted spoon and set it aside, then I tossed 1 large diced onion and 4 cloves of chopped garlic into the pot and let them soften.  Then I added:

  • 1 small can of stewed tomatoes and their juice, plus about 1/2 a can of water
  • 2 small cans of cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
  • a bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves

Stir the whole thing together, add back the sausages (cut into large chunks) and the pancetta, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Serve garnished with more chopped fresh mint and a little crumbled feta if you fancy it.

I have a feeling that the leftovers will be even better.  This is perfect dinner party food – it takes one pot, it comes together pretty quickly, doesn’t need constant watching.  If I were making this for a dinner party, I’d serve it with cold mezze like feta and olives, hummus & pita, and a cucumber salad with olive oil, lemon, and a bunch of the leftover mint chopped into it. And a good red wine. It reminds me a lot of cassoulet, but the spicy sausage is much spicier and the mint makes everything much tangier.  A+, would make again.

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6 responses to “Habas alla Catalana (Bean and sausage stew with mint)

  1. Mmmm… that sounds delicious. I’ll definitely give it a go!

    • It was great, I think it would work with almost any savory sausage from that region. The real standout in flavors is the tangy sauce and the beans – the sausage almost doesn’t matter.

  2. Looks like another winner, Jen.

  3. I am making this tonight. And I am super excited.

  4. Lots fantastic – may have to try to it myself.

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