upgraded beans n’ franks

This is not a recipe that will win any beauty pageants. On the contrary, the finished dish looks a bit like something Oliver Twist might have asked for some more of. It’s something of a mush of beans, with slices of sausage and dots of carrot to keep it from being totally monochrome. But, like so many things in life, appearances are deceiving and it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Because in this case, what’s on the inside is seriously tasty. I never had beans and franks mixed together as a kid. Though I loved (and still love) both hot dogs and baked beans, I wanted them to be separate, thank you very much. Now that I’m older and wiser, I see the appeal of mixing everything together.

f+b4

“Black beans and sausage” jumped out at me from the millions or recipes on the internets for three main reasons. One: I love a actually one pot meal, and this is about as close as they come. Two: I trust Martha Stewart implicitly. I couldn’t say how often the lady herself is throwing together quick and simple weeknight meals those days, but her staff knows what’s up. This is in fact as advertised, a very simple dish that comes together quickly (in about 40 minutes). But the flavors are layered in a way that creates something much more than a one note taste. And three: my beau would happily eat black beans everyday. So this recipe looked pretty irresistible.

flavor building.

flavor building.

The recipe as originally written is meant to make four servings, but when I reviewed the ingredients I doubted that it would equally two full dinners and two servings of lunch leftovers in my house. So I bulked it up a bit, using bigger than suggested cans of black beans, and adding in more of both sausage and carrots. We liked our dinners so much that even with the additions there was only enough leftover for one lunch, and so the second time I made this I went even bigger, figuring that if some was good a lot would be great. As much as Hal and I both love this recipe…I went too far. I threw in four small cans of black beans, even more carrots, and a full two pounds of sausage, and proved to myself that too much of a good thing can be terrible. As delicious as this recipe is (and I do still love it), you might not want to eat it every day for lunch for a full week. So just a word to the wise: the measurements below will give you a little extra, but not take things overboard.

f+b5

not exactly pretty, but oh so good.

If you’re looking for something new to add to your weeknight repertoire, I highly recommend this dish. Martha suggests that it can even be made a day or two ahead, and heated up slowly when you want a faster than fast meal. Next on my to try list, for sure.

black beans and sausage
adapted from martha stewart

ingredients
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds smoked sausage (I used chicken), sliced
4-5 medium carrots (my grocery store sells weirdly small carrots), chopped
2 shallots, diced
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large cans (19 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken broth
chopped fresh parsley (optional)

instructions
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add sliced sausage and brown on each side. Transfer to a plate. Add carrot and shallot to skillet (with a drop more olive oil, if your sausage started to stick) and cook until carrot begins to soften, about four minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, just for a minute or two. Add in drained and rinsed black beans, and your broth, and bring up to a boil. Add in the sausage, reduce the heat, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about twelve minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with parsley if desired. Serve with crusty bread to soak up all of the extra tastiness.

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