I made cassoulet once. Not a cheat’s cassoulet, a real one. Succulent pieces of roast duck, herby Toulouse sausages and rich pork belly. It’s classified as French peasant food. Once again I am reminded that if you’re ever going to be a peasant, France is a cracking place to do it.
In Australia, peasants eat tinned spaghetti and Spam.
That damned pot of beans took me three days to prepare in the traditional fashion and by the time it hit the table I was expecting it to positively sing like angels on my tongue.
Try this for dinner too: Sticky chicken tray bake
Alas, I was underwhelmed. I smothered mine in Tabasco and it was nice.
Not quite three days worth of nice. Also, bears mentioning that the original recipe made the biggest damned pot of Cassoulet you’ve ever seen and I was eating those beans for DAYS…
Anyway, I have since found a way to make a cheat’s Cassoulet. It’s faster, easier and tastier.
I often ferret around in the freezer and just use whatever meat I have in there… bacon will do for speck, any chicken or duck, and old sausage works.
This can be eaten by the whole family for dinner. Once I even blended some of the beans and carrot and gave it to the baby mixed with avocado. It does have a little salt in it, but I was so busy cooking this that I forgot her dinner!
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: around 1 hours
4 good sausages, I like Toulouse, chopped into chunks
1 cured chorizo, or 150g speck, sliced
1 chicken breast, or two thighs, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups of chicken stock
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
a big handful fresh thyme and parsley, (dried is fine if it’s all you have, a tablespoon or so of each)
2 bay leaves
85g fresh breadcrumbs
a teaspoon of dried thyme, extra
Put your oven on to about 180ºC. In a big heavy pot, preferably one that can go from stove to oven, pop your chorizo or speck on a low heat to cook and render out the fat.
Once cooked, remove from pot and add the sausages and chicken to cook in the rendered fat. Brown lightly and remove from pot.
Add a little oil if needed and toss in the onion and stir until translucent. Add the garlic and get it all yummo and fragrant. Toss in the carrots, and let them have a little sweat, before you add the tomatoes and beans.
Stir in the herbs and bay leaves, add stock and wine and leave for a few minutes.
Add the meat back into the pan and let it all have a good bubble on the stove for about 20-25 minutes.
In a bowl place the breadcrumbs, and season them well. Add the dried thyme and mix through.
Pop the breadcrumb mix on the top of the cassoulet and then drizzle a slug of olive oil over the top before placing into the oven until they brown slightly, and everything thickens and goes delicious. Keep a little eye on it.
Serve it up with a lovely fresh salad – I love a baby spinach, apple and avocado salad with this as the crisp sweet apple and creamy ago really compliment the cassoulet.
And I still add Tabasco to mine as I discovered something great that fateful day.