Beans with Sausage
Beans with Sausage
Beans are one of the most popular legumes in the world. Because they are easy to make, affordable and nutritious, they are the go-to meal when there are many mouths to feed. In fact, it is said that the best bean stew is one made in large quantities, and that it only becomes tastier the longer it sits. Because dishes based on this vegetable are rich and filling, throughout history, beans were made in nearly every household, regardless of the family’s wealth. Rich in fibres, proteins and carbohydrates, beans proved to be a very beneficial food item, which is why they were given as a daily meal to soldiers around the world. In addition to it being a popular lunch in inland Croatia, beans with sausage are a speciality most look forward to after a hard day’s work and time spent outdoors. Many hikers that spend a day on the Medvednica Mountain in Zagreb usually don’t leave before recovering their strength with a plate of hot beans.
Dry beans that are often used for preparing cooked beans with sausage need to be soaked in salted water the day before so that they swell up. On the following day, the water is replaced and the pot is left on a medium setting on the stove until it boils. The first water is then spilled, new hot water is added, and cooking continues. Onions and sausages are added to the pot, as well as some bacon to give it a special flavour. The beans are seasoned with salt and pepper, and once the pot boils, root vegetables and potatoes can be added as desired. The entire concoction is cooked over a strong fire until the beans become soft.
Once the beans are ready, the stew needs to thicken, which was often accomplished using a specially prepared roux. Roux was traditionally made by heating up oil in a separate pan and then adding flour and frying it for a bit. Different spices, like red paprika, would then be added, and some hot water was used to thin out the roux and make it easier to mix in with the beans. Although it takes a while to prepare so that the beans are soft, thick and delicious, a bowl of hot beans with sausage and a slice of bread are enough to nourish both body and soul. It is eaten during the cold, bleak winter days, and in spring, when it is traditionally made for the International Workers’ Day celebrations in Croatia, held on 1 May.