Delicious pancotto pugliese, aka sausages and beans…

Every year my sister buys me a subscription to Delicious magazine for my birthday and, every month, when it arrives, I spend a happy few hours turning down the corners of the pages, optimistically choosing what I’d like to cook. Sometimes I get one or two made, sometimes none and I wish I could do more because they are always excellent and always work.

What I particularly love about Delicious is that, about a year ago, they decided to bring out each edition in a more timely, fashion instead of, as with most magazines, a month in advance. So this week, as the temperatures started to drop, the September copy arrived. Food magazines that are properly seasonally aligned are even more important to me than fashion ones (which I never buy anymore); just as I don’t want to be choosing an autumn coat in July, I don’t want to be reading about diets in December, when I’m baking mince pies…

Right now, I am well past salads and barbecues, and want warm blankets of food and this, a dish of sausages, bread, potatoes, beans and greens may seem unassuming and unexciting but it is a truly perfect combination, which is very adaptable. It will be massively improved by using good chicken stock, decent bread and salsiccia al finocchio (Italian pork and fennel sausages) but if you don’t have those it will still be as comforting as the first pair of new winter socks. One for the weekend this, because you need a few pans and a few steps. Delicious indeed.

Makes enough for 2-3

Cupboard (or things you might already have)
new potatoes, 8
garlic cloves, 4
chicken stock, about 750ml
extra-virgin olive oil, 2-3 tbsp
chilli flakes, ¼ tsp
good bread, 3-4 slices, depending on their size (you want a largish piece to put in the bottom of each individual bowl; slightly stale is fine)
white wine vinegar, 1 tsp
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shopping list
salsiccia al finocchio or good pork sausages, 4
tinned cannellini or borlotti beans, 400g
spring greens, 1 head
tenderstem broccoli spears, 8
a little lemon juice, to taste

How to
1. Quarter the potatoes (peel them if you want; I don’t bother), peel the garlic and slice 3 of the cloves then skin the sausages and chop the meat into chunks.
2. Heat the stock in a pan big enough to hold both the potatoes and the greens then, when it is simmering add the potatoes and cook them for 5 minutes. Then lift them out with a slotted spoon (you want to keep as much of the stock in the pan as possible) and leave to one side. Keep the stock warm.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, lidded frying pan, add the sliced garlic and the chilli flakes and cook until soft. Remove from the pan and leave to one side then add the sausage pieces and cook until they take on a little colour all over. Roughly tear up one of the slices of bread, add to the sausages with the cooked potatoes and 150ml of the warm stock, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans, shred the spring greens and chop the broccoli spears into short pieces. Then, once the sausages and potatoes have been cooking together for about 10 minutes, bring the rest of the stock up to the boil, add the beans, greens and broccoli and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Remove the lid from the frying pan, add the teaspoon of vinegar and cook for another minute then add the cooked vegetables, the garlic and chilli flakes and any remaining stock. Leave to bubble happily for a couple of minutes.
6. Toast the remaining slices of bread, rub them with the unsliced garlic clove and put into bowls. Ladle the sausages, vegetables and stock over the toast, dress with a splash of olive oil, a little lemon juice and some sea salt then serve. Can be eaten hot, warm and reheats well the next day.

 

 

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