Saturday, June 9, 2012

quick cassoulet recipe

Now there are many, many people who'll tell you about the most authentic recipe for cassoulet, mainly dependent on which region in France they're from. Some things stay the same: there's white beans, sausage and meat. Others change. This is a very quick version which serves to ensure a tasty, high-protein  meal is on your table in under an hour. I'll give the three-day version a shot some day, but for now, I'll go with this.

This recipe is based on the version I saw created at SandBar Newcastle Beach on its Friday night series: three dishes, two worlds, one night. A chef gives tips, serves up three courses from Europe, with matching Australian wines. We went to the opening night - The Pyrenees - sensational. Planning on visiting at least a few more - including Paris, Loire Valley and maybe The French Riviera.

Anyway, here's my dish:

2 tins of white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin tomatoes, crushed
500g firm thick sausage (such as Toulouse sausage - but I used Mr Beak's Chorizo available from Woolworths - awesome)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g rindless bacon, diced
a few stalks of fresh thyme
a couple of bayleaves
1 tsp smoked paprika
a sloosh of white wine
some vegie stock to thin out the sauce
Breadcrumb topping: 1 cup fresh sourdough crumbs mixed with 2tbsp of fresh, chopped parsley and two cloves of crushed garlic.

Sauté the onion, bacon and garlic in a heavy-based pot. I used my le crueset bistro pan. Remove and set aside. Sauté the sausage until browned all over, remove from heat and slice into one inch slices on the diagonal. Return the onion to the pan and add the beans, tomatoes, paprika, a good sloosh of wine. Stir it and add salt and pepper to taste. Thin with vegie stock if needed to taste. Add the sausage and top with breadcrumb mixture. Add to a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is all golden and gorgeous.

Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

For variation you can add some cooked duck or chicken, pieces of pork or any meat you fancy - the sky's the limit. This was so good my husband's requested it a week after I last made it, and my 12-year-old bean-lover gobbled up every mouthful.

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