vegansaurus!

12/15/2009

Vegan Sausage and Butter Bean Winter Cocottes   »

This recipe is my current favorite cold weather comfort recipe, and it came together by accident. It started with a sale on Le Creuset* mini cocottes, loosely translated as “tiny and adorable cast iron baking pot”. “Cocotte” is also an old-timey word for “high-class prostitute”, and when these pots come out of the oven, you’ll feel like a cooking pimp. They just make everything fancier and more pleasing to look at. And even though you don’t really NEED the cocottes for this recipe (your usual Pyrex casserole dish will do nicely) sometimes mixing up your cookware can inspire you to try out new things.

So here goes. It’s actually not that complicated. You’re basically making some fresh tomato sauce, boiling potatoes, slicing it all up, then baking it together. Easy-peasy.

Ingredients

  • 2 chipotle Field Roast brand sausages
  • 3 big tomatoes, or about a pound and a half.
  • Half a bunch of dino kale, or about a half dozen leaves.
  • 5 smallish fingerling potatoes, or about 3/4 pound.
  • 8 oz jarred or canned butter beans, rinsed. Cannellini are fine too. Annalisa is my brand of choice, available at Rainbow.
  • Shallot, one medium clove.
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or to taste.
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or to taste.
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds or to taste.
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce (or chipotle sauce) or a bit less to tone down the spices.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F. In a small pot, boil water for potatoes and drop them in.
  2. Quarter the tomatoes, or cut them into workable chunks. Set them aside for now.
  3. Next, find a medium-sized saucepan and melt the Earth Balance on medium heat. If you have a cast-iron pan, that’s the best, because you’re going to be cooking tomatoes in here, and you already knew the vegan trick of cooking tomatoes in cast iron to get more iron in your diet, right? Well you do now!
  4. Slice up the shallot into fairly thin slices, and sauté them in the Earth Balance.
  5. Once the shallot is translucent, add the tomatoes, dried oregano and fennel seeds. Cover the saucepan and let it hang out for a bit on medium heat.
  6. How are the potatoes doing? Check them by sticking a fork in them. You want the fork to sink in but you don’t want the skins to come off. If they’re done, drain the potatoes and rinse them off.
  7. When the tomatoes have turned to a saucy mush, mix in the adobo sauce and let it all cook uncovered for another minute or so.
  8. Find a large mixing bowl. You’re about to slice everything up and throw it into the bowl.
  9. Pull off the kale leaves from the stems, bunch them all up, and cut them into thin strips. Slice the Field Roast sausages and the potatoes into half-inch-thick slices. Put everything into the mixing bowl along with the beans and the tomato sauce you just made. Mix it all together.
  10. Spoon everything into the cocottes or the casserole dish, and drizzle the olive oil over everything.
  11. Set the cocottes on a baking sheet, bake for 35 minutes, then nom the hell out of it.

*If you’ve never heard of Le Creuset, they’re the brand of cookware that everyone puts in their wedding gift registry. So if you’ve been to a lot of weddings, either you’ve bought your friends a lot of very expensive Le Creuset sauce pans, or you’re like me and you put it off until all the good gifts are gone, leaving you with a monogrammed spatula and a napkin ring to choose between. Sometimes they have sales and if you already have—how should I put this to not sound creepy—“a problem” with kitchen accessories, then sometimes the “Add to cart” button presses itself by accident and boxes show up in the mail. Whoops.

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