This comes from the always terrific Melissa Clark in NYTimes Cooking. We ended up making it (mostly) vegan by using plant based sausage (a chorizo) but that’s a choice you don’t have to make. It takes some time to stew down and we substituted (red bell pepper) and added (yogurt) a few ingredients, but it’s a very hearty and tasty autumn meal.
For this you’ll need: x1 lb white beans (we used great Northern), x1 lb sausage (cut into 1/2″ cubes or slices; we used plant-based chorizo but Italian sausage will work just as well), x1 onion (peeled and chopped), x2 cloves garlic (peeled, crushed and chopped), x1 red bell pepper (cored and cut into 1″ cubes), 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp ground cumin, 8 cups/2 qts vegetable stock, 1 tsp salt, several fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs (tied with string into a bouquet garni, 2 bay leaves, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp plain yogurt, black pepper, olive oil.
In a large pot or Dutch oven add 2 Tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and stir well to cover all pieces in oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides – about 5-8 mins. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon to leave behind the oil and juices and place into a bowl. Cover the bowl with foil or a plate and set aside.
Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring all the time, over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to darken – about 5 mins. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and a little more oil (if needed) and stir well to coat everything. Cook until everything begins to soften, about 5-8 mins. Add the dried beans, the stock, bay leaves and the thyme/rosemary garni, stir well and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to just maintain a simmer and let cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until beans are tender – about 2 hours. Add water to the mixture if too much evaporates and beans are becoming uncovered.
After the beans are fully cooked and tender remove the bay leaves and garni, add back in the sausage and then add the salt, vinegar, yogurt and black pepper. Stir well and let simmer for a further 5-10 mins to heat through but not cook too much.
Then turn off the heat and allow to stand for 10-30 mins, covered to fuse the flavors.
Serve in bowls with crusty bread.