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.