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Franks and Beans

March 26, 2013

During my gluten-free Lent, I’ve been trying to eat more beans and lentils, and this recipe from Bon Appetit’s March issue fit my dietary restrictions perfectly. Their take on franks and beans is quite different than the version we’ve all encountered in our school cafeterias, but would we expect anything else? :) Rather than hot dogs and barbeque-flavor beans, this recipe incorporates Italian sausages, cannellini beans, and lots of fresh herbs for a more “grown-up” version of this classic dish.

It’s hard to believe that I have less than one week left of eating gluten-free! Because it was more of a wheat flour fast and not a read-every-label-for-wheat-derived-ingredients fast, this Lenten season was actually less challenging than last year when we went vegetarian. Other than once last week, I haven’t found myself craving bread or baked goods, even when I brought in desserts for my coworkers. I do feel a bit healthier overall, but not so dramatically that I think I have an intolerance to gluten. I think it’s that I’ve simply been paying more attention to what I’ve been putting in my mouth for these 40 days, versus immediately after the holidays when I was in a bit of a convenience food slump, snacking a lot and just plain eating too much. When I do start eating bread again on Sunday, I’m going to try to continue with these better habits. Can’t wait for spring and all the fresh vegetables that it brings!

Franks and beans

Serves 4 as a main dish

Ingredients

  • 3  tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1  medium onion, chopped
  • 6  garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1½  pounds sweet Italian sausage links (about 6), divided
  • 2  15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1  cup dry white wine
  • 10  flat-leaf parsley stems
  • 10  sprigs thyme
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 2  cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3  tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as oregano, flat-leaf parsley, and tarragon), divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove and discard casings from 2 sausages; add sausages to put. Cook, breaking up with a spoon, until sausages and onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add beans and wine to pot and cook until wine is reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Using kitchen twine, tie parsley and thyme into a bundle; add to pot along with bay leaves and broth. Cook on medium-low heat, partially covered and stirring often, until liquid thickens, 40 to 50 minutes. Discard herb bundle and bay leaves. Mix in butter and 2 tablespoons chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, after beans have been cooking for about 25 minutes, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook remaining sausages, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Slice.
  4. Divide bean mixture among bowls. Top with sausage slices and remaining 1 tablespoon chopped herbs.

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