The Cookery Group for October cooked Cassoulet from a recipe provided by Jean M. The recipe was very easy to follow. I know Jean will not mind me adding this but it is not a recipe some of the group would cook normally. We were all pleasantly surprised by the taste and aromatic aromas filling the air when the dish was cooking. This dish is definitely a meal for a winters evening after working in the garden or coming home after a long walk. There is a recipe after the photographs if you wish to try it.
Cassoulet is a hearty dish. Choose really meaty sausages and gammon, take the skin off the chicken and use a small amount of oil to reduce the calorie count.
I/2 tsp oil
6 good quality sausages (at least 85% meat)
4 celery sticks
3 medium carrots
2 medium onions chopped
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 450g)
2 garlic cloves
200g smoked or unsmoked lean gammon trimmed and cut into 2cm cubes
2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
150ml red wine (or water)
300ml cold water
1tsp caster sugar
1tsp dried chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
400g can of cannellini beans in water drained and rinsed
400g can of butter beans in water drained and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
Garnish scrubbed orange.
Handful of flat-leaf parsley
Finely grated zest of 1/2 well-scrubbed orange.
Brush a large non-stick frying pan with the oil. Add sausages and cook over a medium heat for 10minutes, turning every now and then until nicely browned on all sides .Meanwhile, trim the celery and peel the carrots and cut them in diagonal slices about 1.5cm thick
Preheat the oven to 18degC/fan 160degC/gas4. Add the onions to pan and cook with the sausages for 6-8minutes, stirring regularly until softened and lightly brown.
Trim the chicken thighs for any visible fat, and then cut them in half. Add the garlic and chicken pieces to the pan with the sausages and onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning the chicken twice until coloured all over. Transfer everything to a large casserole dish
Stir the gammon, celery, carrots, tomatoes, red wine and water, then sprinkle over the caster sugar and chilli flakes. Stir in the bay leaf and thyme and season with lots of ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer on the hob, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 45minutes.
Take the casserole out of the oven and stir in all the beans. Cover with the lid and put dish back in the oven for another 30min.
Just before it is ready, prepare the garnish. Chop the parsley roughly and toss with the orange zest. Serve large portions of the cassoulet in deep plates or wide bowls with a good sprinkling of the zesty parsley garnish on each one