February 6, 2020

Ask A Chef: Sausage-Braised Chickpeas

Recipe: Jessica Elliott Dennison

Chef Jessica Elliott Dennison of 27 Elliott’s in Edinburgh, Scotland, shares her recipe for Sausage-Braised Chickpeas With Cavolo Nero, Parmesan & Sourdough Breadcrumbs.

Head shot of chef Jessica Elliott DennisonQ:  I’d love to make this dish I had in Edinburgh at a restaurant called 27 Elliott’s. It was one of the lunch specials, with tender bites of slow-braised sausage and chickpeas, hits of Parmesan and lemon zest, and then breadcrumbs for crunch. Care and thought were put into every detail. Can you get me the recipe? — Alannah, Toronto

A: Jessica’s flavorful dish is comfort food at its finest. Use good-quality canned chickpeas and a medium-bodied wine for best results, and build the flavor with patient cooking. The final step of adding grated lemon zest and fennel fronds gives this dish a fresh note. Serve with salad and crusty bread for a satisfying meal on a cold day.


  • 1⁄3 cup cold-pressed canola or olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (reserve fronds for garnish)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and sliced 4 good-quality pork sausages (400 g)
  • 1 1⁄4 cups red wine
  • 1 1⁄2 cups canned chickpeas with liquid
  • 6 leaves cavolo nero (Tuscan kale), stems removed, roughly shredded
  • 1⁄2 cup coarse sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 30 g (1⁄2 cup) grated Parmesan
  • Zest 1 small organic lemon


Yield: Serves 4

Sauté Vegetables

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, fennel, carrot, rosemary and garlic, season with salt and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden. Scrape onto plate and set aside.

Cook Sausage

  1. Remove meat from sausage casings. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and crumble in meat. Fry for 6 to 8 minutes, breaking up any pieces, until nicely browned.
  2. Add wine and bring to a simmer, scraping bottom of pan to incorporate any browned bits.

Finish Braise

  1. Return vegetables to pan along with chickpeas and juices. Simmer on high for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.
  2. Add kale and simmer for 2 more minutes, or until wilted.

Toast Breadcrumbs

  1. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in small frying pan on medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and fry for 1 minute.
  2. Divide sausage mixture between 4 plates. Sprinkle on breadcrumbs and Parmesan, then grate zest over top and garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

Courtesy of Murray Orr; Matt Russell (portrait)


House & Home February 2020