Friday, July 8, 2011

Sausage and White Bean Casserole

Recipe books are not my prefered means of acquiring recipes. I've been disappointed one too many times. I don't even bother buying recipe books anymore. I just check them out from the library. That way I'm not out any money for a book full of recipes that I don't like, or that don't turn out how I'd expect.

With cooking blogs, and recipe websites, there are either a series of pictures or various comments about the recipe. I can get a pretty good idea whether or not I'm going to like a recI cheipe by the pictures and the comments. Whereas recipe books sometimes don't even have a picture of the recipe you want to make, let alone a quick review.

When I checked out "Not Your Mother's Casseroles" by Faith Durandm, my expectations were really low. At least until I got to the check out. You see I go to the library so much that they not only know me by name, they know how to spell my last name (which does not sound like it's spelled) and they know the last four digits of my phone number. (Not only do I go to the library a lot, I put a lot of books on hold. At my library your on hold books are shelved by the last 4 digits of your phone number.)

Anyhow, at the check out, the librarian said, "Oh! We've all been ooohing and ahhing over this book. The pictures in the book look so good."Ok. I'm sold! Cause if Librarians think it's cool, you know it is.

While a lot of the pictures did look good, not a lot of the recipes appealed to me for one reason or another. The white bean casserole did catch my eye. Lately it seems like I've had a thing for white beans. I don't much care for their texture whole, but their flavor has really grown on me in the past year.

Since I've got this texture issue with beans, I pureed half of the beans in the recipe. The hotdish turned out just fine, and even Blockette the bean hater enjoyed this meal.

I'm sure that this meal is even tastier if you use wine. Cooking with wine always makes things taste better, kind of like cream or butter. If you don't happen to have any white wine on hand, like me, using chicken stock still produces mighty tasty results.

White bean Casserole with herbs and pork sausage adapted from "Not Your Mother's Casseroles" by Faith Durand

1 lb bulk italian sausage
1 med or 2 sm onions, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 red pepper, roasted, cooled and diced
1/2 c fresh parsley
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
2 sprigs rosemary leaves
1 c chicken stock (original recipe says 1/2 c stock and 1/2 c white wine, but we didn't have any wine)
1 1/2 t salt
ground pepper
2 15 oz cans of white beans, rinced and drained (I pureed one can because I prefer beans pureed. Do as much or as little as you like.)
3/4 c dry bread crumbs
3/4 c parmesean cheese
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400F. Lighlty grease 9x13 dish with olive oil. In a large skillet cook the sausage on med high until cooked all the way through. Drain on papertowels. Add onion, carrots and celery to the pork fat in the pan. Cook 15 minutes. Add garlic, peppers, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Cook 10 minutes. Add broth. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. In your baking dish, combine veggies, beans and sausage. Stir to combine. Mix bread crumbs with cheese and sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Drizzle top with olive oil, Bake 40 minutes until top is golden brown and the beans are bubbling. Let the dish sit 5 min before serving to set up.

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