Sometimes I mock Rachael Ray and her 30-Minute Meals. I think her brand is all kinds of cool but I firmly believe that even the most talented home cook would have a hard time cooking most of her recipes in under a half an hour without the help of a backstage prep kitchen and pre-assembled ingredients.
I love to watch cooking shows but my one objection to them is that the chefs make cooking look like a breeze. It’s not about scooping ingredients from bowls carefully measured by production interns, but it’s a labor of love. I’m not questioning Martha’s ability to braise or Giada’s love of olive oil but I think a lot of the recipes from cooking shows are difficult – if not impossible – to recreate in home kitchens in the time specified.
In short, I’m saying that cooking is not as easy as it looks on TV and I think that most “30 Minute-Meals” are lies; they take longer. So, when my mother won Williams Sonoma’s Food Made Fast: Weeknight from a giveaway on The Perfect Pantry, I happily swiped it from her kitchen and silently mocked the section in the cookbook that boasts twenty minute recipes. Maybe I’m slow, but truly, the only things I can cook in under twenty minutes are salads and omelets.
And now, Chicken Sausages with White Beans. Inspired by the cookbook and adapted to suit my own tastes, this is one of my favorite weeknight meals now and despite my skepticism, truly cooks in about twenty minutes with hardly any prep time.
Chicken Sausages with White Beans
8 small or 4 large hot or sweet chicken sausages, fully cooked
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 finely chopped yellow onion
1 large seeded, chopped red bell pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
2 cans white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
3/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 cups fresh arugula (rocket)
1. Cook the sausages: prick the sausages in a few places with a fork and place them in a large frying pan with a lid. Add 1/2 cup of the wine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce to medium-low and simmer for five minutes. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until well-browned, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2. Cook the vegetables: while the sausages are cooking, in a separate large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the beans, oregano, remaining 1/2 cup wine and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until half of the liquid is evaporated, 4-5 minutes.
3. Finish the dish: Add the sausages to the pan with th beans and simmer about 1 minute to warm through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the sausages, beans and arugula among 4 plates, drizzle with any liquid in the pan and serve.