Chicken-Sausage and Bean Casserole with Sage

With Christmas coming so quickly, there’s just not much time to recover from Thanksgiving, is there?  I’ll start the cookie parade soon, but I wanted to post another warm, comforting fall recipe first – Chicken-Sausage and Bean Casserole with Sage from the November 2007 issue of Everyday Food.  I love a good casserole, and I was especially interested to try this one because of the fried sage leaves.  (They reminded me of the fried rosemary I loved so much in the Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce.)

The original recipe is great for a casual dinner party (it serves eight people), but I just made a half recipe for the two of us.  Double up the ingredients and use a 4-quart dish if you want to make a full recipe.

In the small bowl of my food processor, I pulsed 2 ounces of a baguette (about 1/4 of the loaf) until coarse crumbs formed.  (I needed 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.)  I added 1 tablespoon of olive oil, pulsed briefly to moisten the crumbs, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and then set them aside.

In a medium saucepan, I heated another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.  I added 12 large, fresh sage leaves and cooked until they were crisp (2 minutes).  Using a slotted spoon, I transferred the sage leaves to a paper towel-lined plate and set them aside.

Using the same skillet and the leftover oil (I didn’t have much), I cooked 1/2 of a large onion (chopped) and 2 minced garlic cloves, stirring occasionally, until the onion was tender (6 minutes).  Since the recipe didn’t say to drop the heat, I started out cooking the onion and garlic over medium-high heat but dropped the heat to medium because my onion was browning too quickly.  Next, I added a 1/2 pound of fresh chicken sausage (casings removed) and 1/4 cup of dry white wine.  I cooked the mixture, breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon, until the sausage was cooked through (about 5 minutes).  Lastly, I stirred in 1 1/2 cans (about 29 ounces) of drained and rinsed cannellini beans.  I cooked the mixture until the beans were tender and creamy (about 6 minutes) and seasoned with salt and pepper.

I transferred the sausage-and-bean mixture to a shallow 2-quart baking dish and topped it with the fresh breadcrumbs I had prepared earlier.  I placed the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and baked it at 350F until the topping was golden (about 27 minutes).  I cooled it for about 5 minutes and then crumbled the fried sage over the top to serve.

Chicken Sausage and Bean Casserole with Sage

I wasn’t expecting this dish to pack a ton of flavor due to the simple ingredient list, but it was soooo good.  I loved the light crunch of the breadcrumbs, the creaminess of beans, and the way the fried sage and sage-infused oil enhanced the dish.  It was *the* perfect dish for a cold night.

Having pre-seasoned sausage might have helped…  My grocery store didn’t have plain, fresh chicken sausage, so I chose the flavor I thought would best complement the dish – spinach and garlic.  (It certainly sounded like a better match than the southwestern flavor, hehe.)  Next time, I may run over to Tony’s Market for the plain stuff, but I was really pleased with the flavor combination I got this time around.

TIPS:  *Be careful* when you add the sage to the pan early in the recipe.  My oil jumped and spit quite a bit.  (Why have I still not purchased a splatter screen???)

Recipe link: Chicken-Sausage and Bean Casserole with Sage


1 Response to “Chicken-Sausage and Bean Casserole with Sage”

  1. 1 bestbyfarr December 3, 2008 at 5:42 am

    You can go for a Turducken too, here is a play by play. Nice blog, thanks

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