Poached Porkers with Spicy Butter Beans

Here’s an attempt to make sausages a healthy option. It doesn’t really work, of course, but the lion’s share of cooking is poaching but a final fry with onion, garlic then passata and red wine enriches the dish. I love butter beans but any tinned beans or lentils would work in a dish finished with spinach. It’s a fork and spoon supper and what you really want with it is a glass of red and some crusty bread and butter to mop up the delicious sauce with it’s hint of Tabasco heat. I found this bag, incidentally, when my fridge/freezer was pulled out for some electrical work. I dread to think how long it’s been behind there but dates back to a visit to Avery Island where Tabasco is made and where I bought my chilli Christmas lights, amongst other things.

Serves 2, generously
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 35 min

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
few sprigs of thyme
strip of orange zest, fresh or dried
600ml water
6 Cumberland sausages
1 tbsp olive oil
150ml red wine
400ml passata
dash Tabasco
400g can butter beans
100g young spinach

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and finely slice the garlic. Place both with the bay and thyme bundled with string, orange zest and pinch salt in a pan with 600ml water. Bring to simmer, reduce the heat to establish a steady simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sausages, cutting the links and piecing each a couple of times with a sharp, pointed knife, so the fat can run. Return to a steady simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes. Lift the sausages onto a work surface, discard the herb bundle and strain the stock into a jug, saving the onion. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a spacious, lidded frying pan and stir in the onion. Cook gently, stirring often, while you halve the sausages diagonally on the slant. Move the onion to the side, increase the heat and lay out the sausages on the cut side. Brown briefly, turn and brown the rounded sides. Add the red wine and torn or cut orange zest and let the wine bubble up over the sausages and virtually disappear. Add the passata, generous dash of Tabasco and 150ml poaching stock. Stir and simmer for a few minutes to amalgamate then add drained beans. When nicely hot, fold in the spinach. The dish is done when the spinach has wilted. If reheating the dish later, add the spinach just before you are ready to serve.