Winter Weather Equals Braised Sausages and White Bean Puree

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Photos by Eric Barton

With all that rain the other day, it dipped down to what, mid-70s? That's sweater weather in South Florida, and that meant breaking out a winter recipe. This is something of a take on the classic English bangers and mash, a dish that, if you eat it enough, will make you banger-shaped.

So this is something of a healthy version, with a bit of an Italian twist. And oh, there's an excuse to drink beer below.

Start by sauteeing onions, red peppers, and a clove of garlic for about five minutes in a Dutch oven or a deep frying pan.

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Remove them and add five or six sweet turkey or chicken Italian sausages (enough for two people).

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When the sausages have a nice golden crust on all sides, throw the onions and peppers back in, right on top of the sausages. Important tip: Don't mix them together here. Add about a half a bottle of hard cider, which will sweeten up the dish nicely. I didn't have any handy, so I went with an ale, which is a fine substitute. Now drink the other half of the bottle.

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Again, don't mix up the sausages, onions, and peppers here. Leaving the sausages on the bottom will ensure they braise nicely. Top the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Letting out that steam will just screw up the dish, so every time you want to lift the top to check on it, open another beer instead.

Get a small sauce pan going with garlic, rosemary, and olive oil. I had some leftover roasted garlic, which is even better. Add a can of well-drained white beans. Stir that every couple of minutes to get the beans soft.

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Add chicken stock until you've covered the beans, and let that cook about five or ten minutes, until the beans have gotten a bit mushy. Throw the whole concoction in a food processor (if you've used a whole rosemary sprig like I did, make sure to fish it out first). Put the pureed beans back on the stove over low heat.

Take the top off the peppers for about five minutes, which will let the sauce cook down. When the sauce is almost evaporated, it's time to plate.

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The result is a white bean puree that makes a fine, healthy substitute for the mash. And bangers? They've got nothing on beer-braised Italian sausage.

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