s a kid, I was a super picky eater. Not in the way that’s shown by TV shows which decry the state of the nation’s nutrition – I don’t remember being particularly enamoured with chicken nuggets and I didn’t eat chips till the age of 17 – but in a “give me cheese or give me nothing” way.
At 24 years old, I’m still finding things that I’ve never eaten, things that are totally normal and cause people to look at me like I’ve come from another planet.
I had baked beans for the first time a couple of months ago.
I had no idea what I’d been missing out on all this time. Easy, tasty food that can be tarted up without much hassle and is a great hiding place for secret veg! That’s my favourite.
So, this quick sausage and bean casserole is now my go-to, just a matter of whacking things into a pan in a few rounds then curling up with a warming Spanish-tinged delight. And as Beyonce no doubt meant to say, if you like it then you shoulda put an egg on it. Silky yolk running into comforting, spicy casserole? Yes please.
What makes it, I think, is the addition of a really good paprika. People are snobby or brand loyal about plenty of things – ketchup, tea, chocolate, eggs, coffee…for me it’s good smoked paprika. La Chinata, which comes in sweet or hot, adds gorgeous depth to dishes and makes fairly ordinary ingredients just that little bit more special.
About half an hour from chopping to serving, it’s a great weeknight meal, with enough gaps between additions for you to fling your bra off (the best time of evening) and slip into your jammies. And if you’ve got leftovers, it’s pretty good topped with mashed sweet potato the next night too.
This (barely a) recipe serves two!
1 clove garlic, diced
Lightly fry the garlic and onion over medium-high heat in whatever you prefer (the right answer here is butter, because garlic + onion + butter is one of the best smells in the world).
When soft, use scissors to snip smallish chunks of sausage straight into the pan – add hardier vegetables like red cabbage or sweet potato now – and jiggle regularly so the pieces cook evenly.
Add beans, paprika, chili, puree, and Worcester sauce and turn the heat down to medium. Allow to simmer for about five minutes, while you change into pajamas and pour a generous glass of wine. Add pepper to your taste.
Fry the eggs until the edges are slightly crispy and the yolk is just about set. Split the casserole between bowls, top with eggs, and curl up on the sofa.
|Optional – bacon, veggies. For this one I used 1/4 red cabbage – pretty much any in-season veg will be fine! Just make sure you add those which require longer cooking earlier. Cavolo nero and spinach are also great additions.|