Beef and Bean Casserole

This tasty and filling casserole takes a long time to make, but it is not difficult to prepare. It is suitable for a family lunch or an informal dinner party. Serve with fresh green salad and crusty French bread.

1 lb. dried black-eyed beans

22 pints cold water

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb. pork sausages

1 tablespoon pork fat or cooking oil large onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 lb. stewing beef, cut into

1-inch cubes

2 teaspoon dried savory

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and sliced

6 fl. oz. beef stock or red wine

Put the dried beans in a large bowl and pour over enough water to cover them completely. Leave to stand for 12 hours or overnight.

Drain off the water and put the beans in a large saucepan. Add the cold water, ½ teaspoon of salt and half the black pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are tender. Drain the beans through a sieve and reserve 12 fluid ounces of the cooking liquid.

Preheat the oven to cool 300 ‘F (Gas Mark 2, 150’C).

Slice the sausages into 1-inch lengths. Melt the pork fat, or heat the cooking oil, in a large frying-pan over moderate heat. Put in the sausage slices and fry them for 15 minutes, or until they are evenly browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage pieces from the frying-pan. Drain them on kitchen paper towels and set aside.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of fat from the frying-pan. Add the chopped onions and the garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not brown. With a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

Raise the heat. Add the beef cubes to the pan, adding more fat if necessary, and brown them quickly on all sides.

Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put the cubes in a large, oven-proof casserole. Add the onions and garlic, savory, bay leaf, marjoram, tomatoes and the beef stock or red wine. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Cover the casserole and place it in the oven. Bake for 2 hours.

Take the casserole from the oven and add the beans, sausage pieces and the 12 fluid ounces of liquid in which the beans cooked. Return the casserole to the oven and, stirring occasionally, bake for 1 hour more, or until the beef is tender.

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