This delicious traditional stew is very popular at Turkish homes, and as well as in our traditional restaurants, lokantas. It is lovely when cooked with Pastirma, Turkish Pastrami, dried cured beef with a special spicy coating too. This is the Turkish version of the French Cassoulet, the sausage, meat and white beans stew, though much lighter and easier to prepare. You can replace the sausage here with any other sausage (chorizo works well) or meat of your choice. For a vegetarian option, simply omit the meat.
You can cook this stew ahead of time, even a day in advance. It freezes very well too.
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 55 minutes (+ 20 minutes for partial
cooking for the dried beans)
2 cup / 340 gr Cannellini dried white beans or
Pre-cooked Cannellini beans in can, drained
1 medium yellow onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz / 225 gr Turkish sausage, sliced in quarters
14 oz/ 400 gr Can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
1/2 tablespoon red pepper paste (optional)
6 cups / 3 pints of water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt/ Maldon sea salt flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Soak the dried beans in plenty of water overnight. Next day, drain the water and boil the dried beans in fresh water for about 20 minutes, covered. Drain the water and set the partially cooked white beans aside (If you are using precooked white beans, simply drain the juice and rinse the beans under cold water.)
Sauté the onion with the olive oil until soft. Add the sausages and sauté for another minute or so. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, (and the red pepper paste if using) and mix well. Then add the white beans and water, mixing gently so that the beans won’t break. Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook in medium heat for about 50 minutes, or until the beans are cooked (cooking time should be about 20 minutes if precooked beans in can are used).
Serve hot with plain rice by the side.