Bangers and Butter Beans

Bangers and Butter Beans with Jammy Onions and Dill Pistou
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I have a small confession to make. I developed today’s recipe because I liked the way its name sounded. The phrase Bangers and Butter Beans randomly strolled into my mind one day and I fell for the sonic romance of it. It sounded like something a Roald Dahl character would tuck into. It’s funny, you never know what will set a recipe in motion.  I think most people would imagine a recipe’s name would be the final touch rather than the starting gun. And it is true, this is more an exception than a rule. Sometimes a recipe is born from a particular detail in a restaurant meal or a dish of little consequence featured in a movie or TV show. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding an abundance of one ingredient at your local grocery store. And let’s not forget the OG food muse – seasonality. 

Yellow onions in a large bowl.

It stands to reason that recipe inspiration can come from anywhere because food is a sensory symphony or at least it can be. It can be a delight for the eyes, nose, and mouth. And in certain instances even the ears. I put forward the current TikTok trend of running a knife over something particularly crispy. With so many senses actively engaged in the act of eating, it’s not surprising that you can pull culinary impetus from a multitude of disciplines and sources. Honestly, sometimes I am simply motivated by a color combination that I have to somehow make taste good. 

Searing the bangers in a large cast iron skillet.

But enough about my job, let’s talk about these Bangers and Butter Beans. This dish is obviously a play on the British pub classic Bangers and Mash. But as so many of you pointed out on Instagram, it also takes inspiration from an equally humble dish Beans and Weenies a.k.a Frank and Beans. I must admit that dish was not at the forefront of my mind while I was developing this recipe. But I now see why no one was shocked by my choice to replace potatoes with legumes. When I was a kid our version of Beans and Weenies was extremely low-rent. We made it with hot dogs and tins of beans in molasses. I haven’t revisited it since I was 9 or 10, so it isn’t much of a culinary touchstone for me. 

Dill pistou under a pile of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano in a bowl.

This dish starts with onions. Like, a whole lot of onions, so give your tear ducts a pep talk because this is going to be a wild ride. Slice 6-7 yellow onions in half moons. Wipe away your tears and heat a little olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add your sausages to the pan and sear them on both sides. I used British bangers for this recipe I guess for authenticity’s sake. But you can use any variety of sausage you fancy…there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere. Transfer your seared sausages to a plate and set them aside. 

Jammy onions in a large cast-iron skillet.

Turn the heat under the skillet to low. Add whole fennel seeds and crushed red pepper flakes and toast them briefly. Add the onions you so diligently chopped and a generous sprinkling of salt. Toss to coat the onions in the oil and sausage fat. Cover and let caramelize for an hour, stirring occasionally. We want the onions to be very golden and buttery in texture. 

Adding dry vermouth to a skillet full of jammy onions.

While the onions are slowly melting, we can move on to the dill pistou. This is based on the classic French condiment typically made with fresh basil. Not only will this bring a pot of color to what is, let’s face it, a pretty monochrome beige dish but it will also deliver a bright counter note to this meal’s pervasive deep earthy flavors. 

Bangers and Butter Beans simmering a large cast iron skillet.

Pile a large handful of fresh dill into a food processor. Add three peeled cloves of garlic, some salt, and the juice of half a lemon. Turn the food processor on and blitz until it resembles mulch. With the food processor still running, stream in some olive oil and blitz until relatively smooth. It’s fine to have a few lumps and bumps. Transfer the pistou to a bowl and chill until ready to serve. 

Bangers and Butter Beans with Jammy Onions and Dill Pistou

Once your onions are where you want them, add a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste. This will bring some additional sweetness and umami to the dish. Add a splash of dry vermouth – sherry is another good choice – and stir until the liquor has more or less cooked off. Add two cans of drained and rinsed butter or lima beans and toss to coat. Pour in a cup of water and bring everything up to a simmer. Return the sausages to the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes, turning the sausages once halfway through. 

Bangers and Butter Beans with Jammy Onions and Dill Pistou

A note about the water, you can substitute the water for beef or chicken stock if you have some handy. But between the onions and the other spices in this dish, you won’t be lacking in flavor. The water is there to give the beans and sausage a little more liquid to simmer and cook in. If it wasn’t there, everything would stick to the bottom of the pot long before the sausages were done. If you do choose to go the stock route, try to select a low-sodium variety. Canned beans tend to bring a lot of sodium and we added salt to the onions to encourage them to break down. So there is already enough salt in this dish. You can always add a little extra salt at the end if you feel it needs it. 

Once the sausages are done, it’s time to plate up. Spoon the beans onto a plate and place one or two sausages on top. Drizzle the dill pistou over the beans and sausages and garnish with crushed red pepper flakes and sprigs of additional fresh dill. And that’s your Bangers and Butter Beans done!


Bangers and Butter Beans with Jammy Onions and Dill Pistou

Bangers and Butter Beans with Jammy Onions and Dill Pistou

These Bangers and Butter Beans feature seared sausages simmered in a sea of butter beans and jammy onions topped with a vibrant dill pistou.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet
  • 1 Food Processor


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sausages** I used British bangers
  • 6-7 yellow onion sliced into half-moons
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 (540 ml, 18 fl oz) cans butter beans or lima beans*** drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste heaping
  • cup dry vermouth****
  • 1 cup water *****
  • 1 batch Dill Pistou see below

Dill Pistou

  • cups fresh dill ends trimmed, tightly packed
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano shredded


  • Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Once the oil is shimmering, add the sausages and sear them on both sides. Transfer the sausages to a plate and set them aside.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the fennel seed and the crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant. About 30 seconds. Add the onions and toss to coat in the oil and sausage fat. Add a generous sprinkling of salt. Cover and let caramelize for an hour, stirring occasionally, or until the onions are golden and fall-apart buttery.
  • While the onions are caramelizing, make the pistou. Place the dill, garlic, salt, and lemon juice in a large food processor. Turn the food processor on and stream in the olive oil. Blitz until relatively smooth, a few chunks are okay.
  • Transfer the pistou to a bowl and add Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve.
  • Back to the onions. Stir tomato paste into the onions and add the dry vermouth. Simmer until the vermouth is mostly absorbed. Add the beans and water and return the sausages to the skillet. Bring everything up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, turning the sausages once.
  • Spoon the beans onto plates and top with one or two sausages. Drizzle with the dill pistou and garnish with additional crushed red pepper flakes and fresh sprigs of dill. Serve immediately.


** You can use any variety of sausage you wish. 
*** Lima beans and butter beans are the same thing. 
**** You can also use sherry or white wine. You can also omit it completely. 
***** You can also use chicken or beef stock. Make sure it’s low-sodium.
Keyword butter beans, caramelized onions, dill, sausages

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