We have been sausage crazy here this week! After making the most gorgeous Italian sausages with my family last Saturday, we have had many a meal containing glorious, porky goodness!
This is one of our favourites, a recipe that has been in my family for generations, one that my great grandmother would make for my nanna and her sister as children, when they were living in the rural Italian countryside. The base of chilli, garlic, sausages and stock can be used for several different meals, including the classic pasta e fagioli. It is peasant food at its finest! Cabbage takes centre stage in this dish, flavoured with all those wonderful juices from the sausages. It makes for a truly wonderful mid winter lunch or dinner!
Although the cooking time may be a bit lengthy, it’s a one pot dish that you can just leave to bubble away on the stove top, letting the flavours come together and work their magic!
It is a very hearty and warming meal and is most delicious served with a few chunks of crunchy bread or some toast slathered with butter.
A note on the sausages you should use:
There are few ingredients in this recipe but it’s the quality of those ingredients that makes all the difference, the most important being the sausages. You won’t get the same result using a subpar product. If you invest in really good quality meat, those wonderful flavours will lend themselves tremendously to the dish. It really will make a difference! We are lucky to have homemade sausages, but you will find a similar product at a great butcher or farmer’s market. If you can't get your hands on sausages, you could substitute them for a few good quality pork chops, or even pork bones are delicious! You also have the option in this dish to leave the sausages whole, halve them or chop into rough chunks prior to cooking. It is equally delicious, whichever option you choose.
Pork and Cabbage
Makes four hearty bowls
A good lug of olive oil
4 good quality Italian pork sausages, preferably free range, left whole, halved or cut into rough chunks (see note above)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
500ml vegetable stock
2 x 400g tin cannellini beans, lightly mashed
1.7kg cabbage finely shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Toast or crunchy bread, to serve (optional)
Extra chopped chilli, to serve (optional)
In a medium, heavy based saucepan add olive oil and sausages. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, until golden. Toss in the garlic and chilli and fry until aromatic, about a minute.
Add the vegetable stock and cannellini beans and bring it all to a boil. Turn down to a medium heat and allow to cook, covered for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Finally, add the shredded cabbage giving everything a good stir. Cook for about 20-30 minutes longer, stirring often, until the cabbage has wilted and is lovely and tender, or to your liking.
Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving in big bowls, topped with extra chopped chilli and a side of crusty bread!