White Bean Stew with Sausages
This comforting white bean stew with sausages is a traditional Romanian dish that can conquer any bean-lover’s heart. It’s one of the most popular dishes in our country and it’s perfect during this time of the year, when we’re all looking to eat hearty food. Personally, I just can’t eat lots of fresh salads this time of the year. I certainly prefer a cooked meal, and I try to combine as many ingredients as I can.
This white bean stew also contains carrot and red pepper, even if the classic way to make is simpler, with just some chopped onion. Extra veggies are always welcome, in my opinion. If you skip adding the sausages, the stew is perfect for fasting or for anyone who prefers to follow a vegetarian diet.
For this recipe, you’ll have to use dried white beans and soak them overnight. I have seen several white bean stew recipes with canned beans, but I have never tried it that way. This is how my mother, my grandma make this white bean stew.
Since the taste of white beans is a little bit plain, I prefer to add lots of spices and herbs to the stew. The perfect herbs for this stew are tarragon and thyme, and my favorite spices for this dish are dried garlic and paprika powder – lots of it!
Since the beans are dried, make sure to soak them the night before you cook this dish, for at least 12 hours. The process of cooking these beans is a little more complex – I always bring the beans to a boil, then quickly rinse them with cold water, repeat the process once more, and then, the third time, I let them boil until they’re completely cooked, soft and mushy.
The addition of sausages is totally up to you. I added them on top, not inside the stew. If you’re looking for that smoky sausage taste in your white beans stew, chop the sausages, fry them in a bit of oil, then add them to the stew 10 minutes before you turn off the heat. Serve this delicious, heart-warming stew with pickled cucumbers or pickled peppers.
500 g dried white beans
1 red pepper
250 ml tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika powder
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons oil
Fresh thyme and tarragon for garnishing
- The evening before making the bean stew, soak the dried beans in a pot filled with water. The water should be at least 5 cm above the beans. Make sure you soak the beans for at least 12 hours.
- The day after, drain the beans and wash them with cold water, then put them the same pot and fill it with water. The water should also be at least 5 cm above the beans.
- Bring to a boil, then immediately drain the water, rapidly wash the beans with cold water, then fill the pot with water once more and repeat the steps. After the beans have boiled two times, fill the pot with water again and this time, let them boil for at least 2 hours or until they’re soft. Drain the beans, but keep the hot water in a bowl.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the onions, the red pepper and the carrot. In another large pot or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the onions until they’re soft. Add the flour and rapidly mix until it’s incorporated in the oil and onion mixture, then add 2 ladles of hot water from the bowl and the tomato paste, plus the chopped carrot and red pepper. Add the spices and herbs and mix well.
- Add the white beans and enough hot water to cover the beans. Boil the white beans stew for about half and hour, until the sauce thickens.
- Separately, fry the sausages in 2 tablespoons oil and place them on top of the stew.
- Garnish with fresh thyme or tarragon.