This, I must say, is quite a grand hybrid between a hearty casserole and a soothing soup. It is comfort food perfection and wonderfully warming for those chilly evenings, so take your time, pour some wine and enjoy cooking this delightful Southern belle!
1 ½ cups of white butter beans, soaked overnight in salted water.
1 ½ cups of fresh soft white maize corn, removed from the husk (If this is not available than normal yellow sweetcorn is suitable)
1 white onion chopped roughly into thick chunks
3 bay leaves
2 large dried red chillies
3 good quality pork sausages (It’s really important to select a very good quality sausage here, please avoid any of the value type as the flavour extends deeply into the casserole), sliced into medium thin slices.
200gms spicy chorizo sausage, sliced into thick pieces
1 leek, cut into thin slices
Olive oil for shallow frying and roasting
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 ½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp fresh thyme / dried thyme
10 very large ripe tomatoes
½ tsp salt
1 heaped tsp brown sugar
1 heaped tbs tomato puree
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbs gravy browning
1 chicken stock cube
Heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
Make sure you have started the whole process by soaking your dried white butter beans in cold, salted water overnight. You can use the canned version if you really want, but of course these do not need soaking and will not need pressure cooking. If you use the canned version, add them right at the end when you are bringing everything together.
If you have soaked the dried beans, drain and wash the butter beans.
In a pressure cooker, gently heat the oil. Now add the garlic and the leek. Fry gently for a minute or so, taking care not to burn.
Now add the sliced chorizo and fry gently until the reddish paprika spiced oils are slowly released. Next, add the pork sausage and fry until just seared. Remove all of this cover and set aside.
In the same pressure cooker, now add the butter beans, the white maize or the fresh yellow sweetcorn, the white onion, the bay leaves , the red chillies and the chicken stock cube. Stir this all together until well combined.
Top with 3 cups of boiling water, cover tightly and pressure cook the beans and maize for at least 20 minutes or until they feel tender.
As the beans and the maize are cooking, plunge the whole tomatoes in boiling water, peel and remove the skins. Chop into rough chunks. Now place in a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and the thyme and let these roast in the hot oven for 25 minutes or so. Occasionally shake the pan about as these are roasting on a very high temperature.
Now bring your casserole together. Check the butter beans and maize are tender. Now add the roasted tomatoes, the chorizo, sausage leek and garlic mix, the Spanish paprika, salt and black pepper, the mixed spice, the tomato puree, the brown sugar and the gravy browning. Stir this all together and add 1 more cup of water so that you have a soup like consistency. Now cover and let this simmer gently for a further 10 minutes. Do not pressure cook, but let it simply simmer.
Check for seasoning and serve this hearty Casserole come soup with chunks of freshly baked soft jalapeño cornbread.