A southern cassoulet
Photo by Jason Burgess
- If you are using dried beans, soak them in water overnight.
- Drain, put into a large pot, cover with cold water and simmer until they are tender. Allow them to cool in their cooking liquid.
- In a heavy-based pan, cook off some diced carrot, celery, onion and garlic in oil and butter until they are soft. Add a bay leaf and some tomato paste if you have it.
- Once the vegetables have softened, add chunky pieces of smoked bacon and cubed belly pork. Stir until the meats start to colour.
- Cut the sausage and black pudding into bite-sized pieces, add these to the pan and continue to cook, stirring often.
- Add the cooked beans, canned tomatoes, and enough stock or water to cover all this and set to a simmer.
- Cut the other meats (I used more of the duck breast and hogget) into big dice or cubes.
- Sear the meat in batches in a hot pan then add to the cooking pan with the other ingredients.
- Once everything is together I find it easier to put all this into a large casserole dish (or if you are making huge quantities, use roasting pans and cover with foil) and continue the cooking in the oven.
- Set the oven to a medium heat, let the cassoulet cook away for three hours.
- Keep an eye on your liquid, the cassoulet needs to stay "soupy" so you may need to top up with water as you go.
- Once all the meats are tender, remove the tinfoil or lid.
- Break the bread into chunky breadcrumbs and spread all across the top surface with a good layer.
- Turn the oven down to low, return the casserole or baking dishes to the oven and allow to gently bubble away until the crumbs form a toasty crust.
- This is a one-pot dish but a bit of green is always good so serve with a simple salad of rocket, radish and oversized croutons.