This is a simple version of a French Cassoulet, traditionally a way of using up left over meats in a hearty dish with beans and vegetables. Cook this at the weekend when it can sit gently bubbling on the hob all afternoon, then serve up with a seasonal baby leaf salad and crusty bread or creamy mash and greens.
This recipe is currently being featured on the Cooler magazine website.
Herby sausage & bean casserole
600g good quality herby sausages such as Cumberland or Lincolnshire
250g streaky bacon
1 tin of butter beans 400g approx
1 tin of cannellini beans 400g approx
2 small onions
2 sticks of celery
1 medium leek
3 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
500ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Large splash of red wine
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Fresh herbs to garnish – thyme, parsley & sage
This dish is best made in a large heavy base casserole dish or saucepan, but any large pan will do. Firstly add a little olive oil into the dish and warm on a medium heat. Cut the bacon into small pieces using a pair of kitchen scissors and drop straight into the pan, cook for five minutes or so until cooked. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl then pour away any excess fat.
Now place the sausages into the pan and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, the sausages can be cooked whole or cut into chunks. Once cooked again remove from the pan and place into the bowl with the bacon and discard any excess fat.
Whilst the sausages are cooking you can prepare your vegetables; peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, finely chop the leek and rinse in running water, peel and finely slice the carrot and finely slice the celery. Once you have removed the sausages add all the vegetables to the pan and sauté gently on a medium low heat for 10-15 minutes until they start to soften. Now add the wine, stock, bay leaves, and tomato puree and mix gently.
Increase the heat slightly so the liquid begins to simmer gently before adding the beans, sausage and bacon back into the dish. Drain the beans and rinse well in cold water before adding them to the pan.
Simmer the casserole gently on a low heat for several hours until it reaches a nice thick stew like consistency, it can then be covered and kept on a low heat until you are ready to serve. At the last minute add plenty of chopped fresh herbs and combine, garnishing with an extra few sprigs of thyme before serving.