butter beans and chorizo
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Beans and chorizo and it’s not a stew, soup or cassoulet. Tinned butter beans flavoured with scorched chorizo sausage, with crispy Parmesan topping, a little heat from a chilli and a little sea saltiness from anchovy.
I’ve just realised there are two categories of people: those who generally like saucy and soupy and the ones who go for crispy, crunchy and charred. Those who presented with an excellent dish of cacio e pepe will ask where’s the sauce. And the ones who say ‘it’s a little soggy’ when they really mean ‘inedible’. People whose roast dinner swims in gravy and the ones who never put ketchup on their chips.
Of course, extreme cases notwithstanding, the predilections are not mutually exclusive. There are lots of people who will have both, a soup for starters and crisps with a sandwich. But the beans and sausage combo – or as in this case, posh beans and posh sausage – tends to belong with the runny foods posse. Beans and chorizo stew or casserole is a classic, beans and chorizo soup too, though personally I shudder at the thought of a sausage in soup. A cassoulet reaching across the Pyrenean border will be saucy too. And your breakfast dish of baked beans and sausage needs a chunk of bread to mop up the plate.
I swing both ways (he he) but generally ‘dry’ is a critical word for me, unless referring to the contents of my wine glass. On the other hand The Weather Man’s middle name should be Crispy. He’s the type that will try to mop up steak juices on his plate with a napkin, and cooks his egg for 6 minutes still calling it ‘soft boiled’.
That’s what prompted me towards this (absolutely wonderful) un-soggy, crispy, sauceless bean and chorizo solution. After all the baked beans with bacon, cassoulets and chillis I generously decided to concoct beans and chorizo dish that goes under the grill. Butter beans were my choice because they are just so great, fat and meaty but grab a tin of cannellini, pinto or haricots if you prefer. But try and buy proper Spanish cooking chorizo rather than its English approximation which is usually an ordinary mushy banger with paprika added in.
The Weather Man loved it. As we were having our postprandial tea, he said wistfully: ‘You could do this with tomato sauce, you know?’
butter beans and chorizoServings: 2Time: 30 minutes
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 mild chilli, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp anchovy paste
- 150g (5 ounces) cooking mild chorizo, sliced
- 4-5 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
- 1 large tin of butter beans, drained
- ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 3-4 tbsp. grated Parmesan
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the onions, chilli, garlic and mustard seeds and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is very soft – about 10 minutes. Stir in the anchovy paste.
2. Add the sliced chorizo to the pan and turn up the heat a little; let it brown and char in places. Stir in the thyme leaves.
3. Add the drained beans, chopped parsley and half the parmesan, stir and cook until the beans are heated through. In the meantime preheat the grill to medium.
4. Transfer the beans into ovenproof individual dishes and sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan. Place under the grill for 5-10 minutes until the top is crisp. Serve with plain rice and/or green salad.