Bean and Sausage Stew
An Irish twist on French cassoulet, this brothy stew of lima beans and thin Irish pork sausages can be baked in a casserole dish, if you prefer.
Yield: serves 6
Time: 3 hours
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. thin Irish or Italian pork sausages (about 14)
- 1 whole large yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges, plus 4 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 whole large carrot, cut into 6 pieces
- 1⁄2 leek, white and light green parts only, quartered crosswise
- 10 oz. dried lima beans, soaked overnight
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 6 whole garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 Fresno chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard, plus more for serving
- 7 oz. stale sourdough bread
- In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium. Working in batches, add the sausages and cook, turning, until browned but slightly undercooked, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a plate, halve crosswise, and return the pan to the heat.
- Add the onion wedges, carrot, and leek and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and then stir them into the vegetables along with 1 thyme sprig, the rosemary, and 5 cups water. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are al dente, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and season the cooking liquid liberally with salt and pepper. Let the beans stand until cooled to room temperature.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, garlic, and remaining thyme sprig. Season with salt and cook, stirring, until the onions are caramelized and soft, about 40 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and chile and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard and then remove the pan from the heat.
- Heat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the beans and their liquid with the sausages and caramelized onions until evenly mixed, and then divide among six 8-oz. ramekins set on a baking sheet. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the bread until it forms coarse crumbs. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and pulse until the bread crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons bread crumbs evenly over each ramekin, and then bake until the bread crumbs are browned and the beans and sausage are warmed through and bubbly, about 1 hour. Serve hot with more mustard on the side.