Traditional French stew with mixed meats and haricots
140 g smoked streaky bacon
300 g garlic sausages
600 g dried haricot beans, soaked overnight in 3 times their volume of water
1 celery stick
1 small onion, preferably a white skinned mild one
1 large carrot
6 garlic cloves
2 ripe plum tomatoes
1 bouquet garni
8 pinches sea salt
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
4 confit ducks legs and/or mixture of other meat.
This is a good way to use up your left-overs.
1 tin of Irish cider, or lager with a bit of apple juice
Cassoulet is like a French stew.
There is no exact recipe, so use your imagination.
It is intended to use up left-overs and cook them in a pot with some white beans.
Use this recipe as a guideline and add your own touch.
Chop the bacon into small cubes (lardons).
Cut the garlic sausage into 1cm thick slices.
Brown the meat.
Try to use some meat that is on the bone.
At this point, the French would add more fat, such as goose fat.
Being not French, I pour the fat off at this point.
Allors! Pour the cider over it.
If there are no bones, add some stock.
Allow to simmer.
Do not boil, or the meat will toughen.
Drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water.
Tip the beans into a large saucepan, add the lardons and cover with fresh cold water.
Bring to the boil and blanch for 15-20 minutes.
Drain the beans and lardons into a colander, and discard the cooking water.
Roughly chop the celery, onion and carrot.
Peel the garlic cloves but leave them whole.
Cut each tomato into eight wedges.
(You never see tomatoes in a traditional cassoulet, but chef Raymond Blanc likes them for their colour and sweetness, so he puts a couple in.
) Preheat the oven to 120C/fan 100C.
(If cooking in a gas oven, use mark 2.
) Throw in any other veg that may be wilting in the fridge.
A couple of beetroots are also nice.
In a 26cm flameproof casserole or deep overproof sauté pan over a low heat and sweat the celery, onion, carrot and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and bouquet garni and cook slowly to get a sugary caramelisation (about 5 minutes).
Add the sausage, beans and lardons.
You can add water or more cider or liquid from the meat.
Bring to the boil, skim off the scum, then add the salt, pepper, clove and lemon juice.
You can also cook it on the stovetop if you want.
Add the meat, liquid and all, to the casserole and transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring every hour.
At the end of this time, the beans will be soft and creamy in texture and the juices should have thickened.
You may need to cook it for longer than 2 hours (say up to 2¬Ω hours) to get to this stage ‚Äì it depends
Remove the cassoulet from the oven.
Bury the meat in the beans.
Return to the oven and cook for a further 2 hours.
Serve the cassoulet in bowls, sprinkled with chopped parsley.