Photo by Tamara West
This traditional white bean peasant stew originates from the south west of France. It is normally made with confit duck legs and spicy lamb mergeuz sausages and is baked in the oven for up to seven hours. Some recipes even call for the crust to be pushed back down into the cassoulet to reform four times! This version is my take on it, made with the perfect slow-cooking ingredient — the good old Kiwi smoked ham hock.
|500 g||White beans, dried, soaked in 2 litres of cold water overnight|
|1||Ham hock, smoked|
|1||Celery stalk, cut in half|
|1||Onion, peeled and cut in half|
|1||Carrot, peeled and cut in half|
|4 Tbsp||Rice bran oil|
|400 g||Pork shoulder, meat, diced|
|6||Sausages, good qaulity, handmade, of your choice e.g. pork and garlic, merguez|
|1||Chorizo sausage, spicy, sliced|
|2 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 cup||Onion, diced|
|1 cup||Carrot, diced|
|6||Garlic cloves, grated|
|1 cup||White wine|
|1 Tbsp||Oregano, chopped|
|1 Tbsp||Thyme, chopped|
|1 Tbsp||Rosemary, chopped|
|1 cup||Canned tomatoes, peeled and chopped|
|3 Tbsp||Lemon juice|
|2½ cups||Breadcrumbs, fresh|
|2 Tbsp||Parsley, chopped|
- Place beans, ham hock, bayleaf, cloves and halved vegetables in a large pot with cold water. Bring to the boil, skim off any impurities that rise to the surface and gently simmer for 1½ hours. Strain off and reserve the ham stock. Allow the hock to cool, then peel and discard the skin, bone and gristle, dice the meat and add to the beans.
- Heat the oven to 150C. Heat 2 Tbsp of the rice bran oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the diced pork shoulder and brown until caramelised all over, remove and keep on the side. Add 1 Tbsp of the rice bran oil and fry the sausages until browned, remove and keep on the side, allow to cool then slice in half. Add the remaining rice bran oil, then fry the chorizo slices until caramelised. Remove and keep on the side.
- Add the olive oil to the pan and gently cook the diced onion, carrot and garlic for about 10 minutes until lightly caramelised, this develops flavour and sweetness. Turn the heat up to high, add the white wine and reduce by half. Tip this into a large ovenproof casserole that has a tight fitting lid.
- Sprinkle in the herbs, add the tomatoes, then spoon in half the beans and diced ham hock. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Add the caramelised pork shoulder meat, sausages and chorizo and cover with the remaining beans.
- Bring the reserved ham stock to the boil and pour over to cover the beans. Place lid on casserole and cook in the oven for 3 hours.
- Remove the lid from the casserole, add extra ham stock if necessary to completely cover the beans. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and press them down with a spoon so they are fully moistened by the stock. Return the casserole to the oven with no lid for 1 hour for the golden crust to form. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.