Chicken, Sausage, and Beans Oh My
I just finished reading an interesting article in The New York Times by Mark Bittman called Slow and Low Is The Way To Go, dated January 29, 2003, about cooking with a slow cooker or as I call it – a crock-pot.
My sister-in-law prepared a recipe from this article for braised short ribs that was outstanding and one I want to reproduce for some friends this weekend.
While reading it, I was motivated to throw a meal together in my slow cooker so I went to the freezer to see what was on hand and came up with this very slow but easy recipe for Braised Chicken, Sausage and Beans.
I had no idea how it was going to turn out but I figured “how bad could it be?” with all these tasty ingredients.
Be sure to read How to Braise on my web site.
My surprise was how much my whole family enjoyed it. My kids usually like what I cook but last night they made comment after comment about how good the meal was. There was a lot of broth, maybe too much so I served the meal in soup bowls and had soup spoons on the table.
I served it with Israeli couscous, also called Ptitim, a wheat based pasta that is shaped like round pearls and much bigger than the couscous we are used to finding in the supermarkets. We enjoyed some Ptitim on Saturday night while dining at a friend’s and I mentioned to my wife that I needed to find some at a specialty market.
Turned out I already had a couple of boxes in my pantry. The kids loved it and as we all know, if the kids love something different, stock up on it.
A Little Israeli Couscous History
According to Wikipedia, “Ptitim” was invented during the austerity period in Israel, when rice was scarce, in order to provide the needs of the Mizrahi immigrants, whose diets were largely made up of rice and couscous.
Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, asked Eugen Propper, one of the founders of the Osem food company, to quickly devise a wheat-based substitute to rice. Consequently, it was nicknamed “Ben-Gurion’s Rice” by the people.
Braised Chicken, Sausage and Beans Recipe
For the Braise
For the Couscous
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1¼ cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- I pulled my slow cooker (crock-pot) out of the cabinet and turned it onto high. No use waiting while I prepped my ingredients, which took no time at all.
- First I removed the skin from the chicken thighs and cut off any extraneous fat and tossed the thighs into the pot.
- Next I sliced the sausages into ½ slices and added them to the pot. The sausages were not completely defrosted so they were actually easier to slice since they didn't fall apart.
- Add the canned cannellini beans with their liquids.
- Finely, chop up the onion and add it to the pot.
- I added two cups of roasted chicken stock but I could have gotten away with one cup. There was a lot of liquid in the pot which was fine with me because it had such an awesome flavor. I'm going to eat the leftovers as a soup today for lunch.
- I sliced up a head of Napa cabbage and added it to the top, seasoned with salt and pepper, put on the top and let it cook for about 6 hours.
- About 15 minutes before serving I added the balsamic vinegar and gave it a stir. Tasted it and adjusted seasonings with salt and pepper.
For the Couscous
- Prepare the Israeli couscous by simmering a cup of couscous in 1¼ cups of water. Now that I think of it, I could have used some of the liquids from the slow cooker to make the couscous. Hmmm, maybe next time.
- I put a couple of spoonfuls of couscous in each shallow bowl and served the chicken, sausage and beans over it and ladled some of the cooking liquid around it.