Originating from the Languedoc region, cassoulet is a hearty
stew made with meat, beans and sausages, perfect as a winter warmer during even
the coldest of months. Though it can take a while to prepare and cook, the
result is definitely worth it, with its big flavour one of the reasons why it
has become a popular winter dish all over France. Before you visit our luxury
villas in France, why not try your hand at this recipe?
6 sausages with at least 85% meat content
6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs (450g/1lb)
200g/7oz smoked lean gammon, trimmed and cut into 2cm cubes
2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 400g can of cannellini beans in water, drained and rinsed
1 400g can of butter beans in water, drained and rinsed
4 celery sticks
2 onions, cut into halves and sliced
½ tsp sunflower oil
2 crushed garlic cloves
150ml/5floz red wine
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
Zest of ½ a large orange
Using a pastry brush, coat a large non-stick frying pan with
the sunflower oil, before adding the sausages and cooking for 10 minutes over a
medium heat, turning occasionally.
Whilst the sausages cook, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas
mark 4, and trim the celery and peel the carrots, cutting both into diagonal
slices so they are around 1.5cm thick.
Add the chopped onions to the pan to cook alongside the
sausages for 6-8 minutes, until soft and lightly browned.
Trim any remaining fat off the chicken thighs, before
cutting them into two and adding to the pan along with the garlic. Cook for
another 3-4 minutes, turning the chicken twice until it colours all over.
Transfer the content of the pan to a large, flameproof
casserole dish, before also stirring into the dish the gammon, celery,
tomatoes, carrots, red wine and 300ml/½ pint of cold water. Sprinkle on top the
caster sugar and chilli flakes, and then stir in the bay leaf and thyme then
season generously with black pepper.
Cook the cassoulet on the hob until it begins to simmer, and
then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Leave the dish in the oven for
45 minutes, before adding in both the cannellini and the butter beans, and
place the covered dish back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Just before the cassoulet is ready, prepare the garnish by
roughly chopping up the parsley, tossing it in together with the orange zest in
a small bowl.
Once the cassoulet is done, serve in deep dishes and add a
sprinkling of the zesty parsley garnish to the top of each one. Enjoy!
Image: Connie Ma, available under Creative Commons
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