Cassoulet

Cassoulet

From
Grains
Serves
8
Cooking time
180 mins
Photographer
Deidre Rooney

This is a relatively inexpensive version of cassoulet as it doesn’t contain any duck confit. Be really generous with the seasoning and herbs – this dish contains a lot of beans and really needs assertive flavouring.

From the grocer

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
900g dried haricot beans, soaked overnight and drained
6 cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato passata
80g wholemeal breadcrumbs

From the greengrocer

Quantity Ingredient
1 onion, peeled
1 bouquet garni
8 garlic cloves, crushed
10 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
10 thyme sprigs, leaves only
10g roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

From the butcher

Quantity Ingredient
250g piece streaky bacon, rind removed and reserved
800g boned breast of lamb
350g pork blade
225g toulouse sausages

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Put the beans in a saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Stick the cloves in the onion and add to the pan with the bacon rind, bouquet garni and half the garlic. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum, reduce the heat and cook slowly for about 1 hour 30 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the age of the beans, so it might take longer. Don’t let the beans dry out.
  2. While the beans are cooking, put the lamb, pork, bacon and sausages into a large roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes. When the meat is cooked, cut the sausages into thick slices and the other meat into 3 cm cubes. Set aside. Reserve the fat in the tin.
  3. When the beans are soft (but not falling apart) drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Discard the onion, bacon rind and bouquet garni. Turn the oven down to 170°C and layer the components of the cassoulet in a heavy-based casserole: the beans, meat, roma tomatoes, remaining garlic and herbs. Season with salt and pepper as you go, and start and end with a layer of beans. Measure out 600 ml of the bean cooking liquid and mix it with the tomato passata and reserved meat fat. Pour this into the casserole and sprinkle some of the breadcrumbs on top – don’t use them all, as you will need more as the cassoulet cooks. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. After 45 minutes take the lid off and stir to incorporate the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over more breadcrumbs, cover and return to the oven.
  4. Check the cassoulet about 20 minutes before it is due to be ready. It should be thick and oily, so judge whether you need to stir in the breadcrumbs from the top and add more. The breadcrumbs will help it thicken but only add more if you need to – you don’t want the cassoulet to be dry. When you serve the cassoulet, it should have a layer of golden breadcrumbs on top.
Tags:
grains
ancient
wholefood
simple
easy
weeknight
midweek
mid-week
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