Friday, 21 October 2016

Polish-style beans and sausages

Baked beans don't have to come from a tin. They are really simple to make. This filling and tasty dish (fasolka po bretońsku in Polish) used to be one of my childhood's favourites, and if served with a slice of home-made bread, makes a full meal on its own rather than just a side dish.


400g bag of dried butter beans 
500g carton of tomato passata
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2-3 smoked sausages, sliced
A little oil for frying

Herbs and spices:

Marjoram (2 sprigs fresh or 1 teaspoon dried)
Oregano (2 sprigs fresh or 1 teaspoon dried)
3 whole dried allspice berries
1-2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt and pepper.


Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Leave them to soak overnight.
The following day, pour the beans together with the soaking water into a large cooking pot, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cover and cook on medium heat for about 2 hours or until the beans have softened. You might need to top up the water during the process.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions and garlic. Add the sliced sausages and fry for another 5 minutes.

When the beans are soft, check how much liquid there is left in the pot. You don't want more than about 1 cup of the liquid, or the sauce will be too runny. I just removed the excess with a ladle.

Add the onion/sausage mixture to the pot, along with all the herbs (if using fresh herbs, chop them up), and cook together for 5 minutes. Add the passata, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaves and the allspice berries before serving.

If the sauce tastes too sharp, you can add 1 tsp brown sugar and/or 1-2 tablespoons cream to make it milder.

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