Simple Sausage and Bean Casserole

The weather eh? So much for any hope of a sunny reprieve. In the autumn and winter I get the best use out of my slow cooker. Truth be told, I get use out of it all year round, but it really comes into its own when the weather is cold and rainy and we are busy at after school activities or out and about. It’s good to know that the slow cooker is home alone, doing its thing! Needless to say, it’s in use here these days.
Not surprisingly, the kids tire of it after a while, but this recipe is one of their favourites. I like to produce it on the days I’m working or post swimming lessons to quell the hangry outbursts (and that’s just me.)
I use a 6 litre slow cooker. It has high/low setting and a timer. When the time is up, it switches to a keep warm setting. There is no wrong way to follow this recipe. I’ve popped this on before the school run and it’s been perfect to eat even at six that evening. It’s most forgiving.
Simple Sausage and Bean Casserole
Serves 4 (with leftover beans, unless you are a member of my savage family)
8 sausages, decent size! (I love the M&S Italian Sausages – high meat content and quality product and I’ve used Tesco finest smoked garlic and basil which give a nice flavour to the dish but any decent meaty varieties will do)
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano or a small bunch of thyme
2 peppers, one yellow and one red, chopped
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (you can also use butter beans to great effect too)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
splash of red wine, optional
salt and pepper to season
Brown the sausages in a frying pan. This is for colour and appearance – they will look much more pleasant. While the sausages are browning, mix all the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. When coloured, but not necessarily cooked through, add the sausages, gently nestling them in the bean mix.
Turn on low for 8 hours. I like to serve this one with either some toasted sourdough with garlic butter (yum!) or a baked potato or just some greens (revolt! say the children)
Alternatively, you can make this in a heavy lidded casserole if like me today you left it far too late and still wanted to eat it for dinner. I preheated the oven to 160C. I browned the sausages and set aside. I added the garlic peppers and diced onion to the pot and let them soften for a bit, then added in thyme, beans, puree, tomatoes and brought to a gentle simmer. Tuck the browned sausages in and pop on the lid and let it do its thing in the oven for an hour.
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