Chipolata and White Bean Stew

Chipolata is a curious word for the British to embrace for a slim, fresh sausage. It gets a mention in Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire published in 1903 but the word possibly derives from Italian cipollata, the name of a sausage but also a term for braised onions. Anyway, these chipolatas are made with my favourite herby, spicy Cumberland sausage-meat mix and stewed in onions with lardons, garlic and white beans. I oiled and griddled the sausages while the stew cooked, so the bulk of the fat drained away and the sausages were etched with those attractive scorch lines that also add flavour. This comes together for the final part of cooking, so the two parts could be made separately up to 24 hours in advance. A scattering of chopped flat leaf parsley improves the look of the dish and adds its grassy vibrancy. Serve in shallow bowls with fork and spoon. Carrots or sprouts go well with it. The white beans I used came from Ocado and are French, from the Vendee, noticeably soft and creamy. A great store cupboard treat perfect for stews like this.

Serves 3
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 35 min

1 onion
1 tbsp olive oil
100g lardons
1 garlic clove
820g jar French white beans
200ml chicken stock
16 chipolatas
½ tbsp vegetable oil
squeeze of lemon
handful flat leaf parsley

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Soften in 1 tbsp olive oil in a spacious, lidded sauté/frying pan. After a few minutes, add the lardons. Stir occasionally as onions soften and fat runs from the bacon. Peel and chop the garlic and stir into the onions. Meanwhile heat a griddle over a medium heat and smear the chipolatas with oil. Lay out the sausages on the hot griddle; they all fitted on mine without overcrowding but you want to be able to sear them nicely before turning, adjusting the heat so they don’t burn and can cook through. Lift onto a fold of kitchen paper as they are done. Back to the onions and lardons, which should be cooked through. Add the white beans and stock. Stir thoroughly and leave to simmer gently for a few minutes to amalgamate the ingredients and flavours and for the beans to thicken the juices. Fold in the sausages. Cover the pan and leave to cook gently for 10 minutes or so. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon. Serve now or later and just before serving, fold in the chopped parsley.