Serves : 4
- 1 cup dried cannellini beans
- 2 bay leaves
- a few stalks of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- a small sprig each of fresh thyme and rosemary (optional)
- 2 onions
- 2 cloves
- 150 g thick-cut rindless bacon, diced
- 400 g coarse-textured sausages
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
- 1 leek, trimmed and thickly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon ground paprika
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic and herb crust
- 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 15 g butter, chilled and diced
Preparation:1hour40min › Cook:50min › Ready in:2hours30min
- Put the cannellini beans in a bowl and cover them generously with cold water. Leave to soak overnight.
- Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans, then put them into a large saucepan with the bay leaves, parsley stalks and, if you are using them, the thyme and rosemary. Pour in 1 litre of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
- Peel one of the onions and stud with the cloves. Add to the pan, cover and simmer gently for 50 minutes, or until the beans are almost tender. Drain, reserving the stock and beans separately, but discarding the herbs and onion.
- Meanwhile, gently fry the bacon in a large, flameproof casserole dish for 5 minutes until the fat starts to run. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, then add the sausages to the dish. Increase the heat to moderate and cook for 10 minutes, turning frequently, until lightly browned all over. Remove from the dish and set aside on the plate with the bacon.
- Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the dish or add 1 tablespoon of oil if necessary. Finely chop the remaining onion, then gently cook for 7–8 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the leek and garlic to the dish and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Thickly slice the sausages and return them to the dish along with the bacon. Add the carrots, tinned tomatoes, paprika, cannellini beans and 400 ml of the reserved stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the cassoulet to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Meanwhile, to make the crust, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the cassoulet and dot with the diced butter. Cook uncovered in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the crust is nicely browned and crisp.
• If you're pushed for time, use one or two 400 g tins of cannellini beans. Drain and rinse the beans and omit steps 1, 2 and 3.
• To get the best out of this cassoulet use good-quality sausages that have a coarse texture. If you can't tell by looking at the sausage which has a coarse texture, ask your butcher for help.
This was quick and easy to make and very delicious. The flavours are heavily influenced by the type of sausage you use. - 01 Jul 2009