I am really enjoying working my way though Fran Warde’s book ‘new bistro’, which was given to me by my friend Sue; she bought it during her visit to England earlier this year. Now, with perfect timing, Pseu has asked for one-pot suggestions (that can be made ahead and frozen) for her annual Christmas dinner. I can’t think of anything more perfect than cassoulet; it does, as Ms Warde says, have something for everyone.
So here; for Sue (thanks again for this special book) and Pseu (I hope your guests enjoy it) is Fran Warde’s cassoulet:
Preparation: 15 minutes, plus soaking the beans the night before.
Cooking: 45 minutes (for the beans), then 1 hour.
500g haricot beans (lingot variety recommended)
1 carrot chopped
5 garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni (parsley, bay, rosemary, thyme)
115g pork rind (I use streaky bacon)
250g salt pork belly, chopped
50g duck fat (I use olive oil)
300g shoulder of lamb, cubed (I omit this)
300g loin of pork, cubed (Also omit this)
1 dsp tomato puree
500g preserved duck (Omit this too)
300g Toulouse sausages, sliced (I use double the amount of chourizo sausage)
Sea salt and ground pepper
300g fresh breadcrumbs (I don’t included this step)
The day before, soak the beans in cold water, changing the water 2-3 times. The next day, place 2.5 litres fresh water in a large pan with the soaked beans, 1 onion studded with the clove, the chopped carrot, 2 cloves garlic, bouquet garni, pork rind and chopped salt pork belly. Place a lid on, just bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, removing the froth that rises during cooking. When cooked, remove the bouquet garni and pork rind and discard. Drain the bean mixture and reserve the cooking liquor.
Heat the duck fat in a large, flameproof casserole dish, add the lamb and pork and fry until browned. Chop the remaining onion and cloves of garlic, add to the meat pan and cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomato puree and 1 litre of the reserved cooking liquor from the bean mixture. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.
Finally, top with a layer of breadcrumbs and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C/325F/Gas3 and cook for a further 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.