Thursday, 9 April 2009

Sausage, bacon and bean cassoulet

I love this recipe. It's an all-in-one meal, infinitely variable and it freezes and dehydrates really well so you can make a load and then just defrost / rehydrate for a quick and tasty filling meal.

This recipe makes 'a lot' (about 10 servings) but I find I get through the frozen portions quite quickly - great after the pub with just a pitta.

  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • Fennel seeds
  • 6 tins of beans (I use a mixture of cannellini, pinto and kidney beans for interest and variety)
  • 2 packs of sausages (ie 12) Sainsbury's 'Tolouse' or 'Sicilian' are great.
  • 1 pack streaky bacon
  • 1 pack of black pudding (you can leave this out if you must / are from south of Brum but I love it)
  • 3 tins of tomatoes - ideally chopped
  • Paprika (this just adds flavour / colour - 'hot' paprika is a complete misnomer to me. If you can find smoked paprika use this, it's a great flavour)
  • Mixed herbs (I use herbs de provence as it's 'french' but any mixture will do)
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Chopped chillies (optional)
  • Salt
  • Coarsely-ground black pepper
  • Red wine
  • Fry / grill the sausages until lightly brown, set aside and cut into thin slices when cool
  • Grill bacon and chop when cool.
  • Fry black pudding, break up slices into 'mash' and set aside.

  • Heat 2-3 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole dish
  • Add the chopped onions and lightly brown, add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds (you can grind these is you like or leave them whole)
  • Add the crushed garlic (and chillies if desired) and fry gently
  • Add 3 teaspoons of paprika and fry gently in the oil
  • Add the washed and drained beans and fry gently stirring to ensure all ingredients are well mixed
  • Add the cooked / chopped meats and the tomatoes and wine (anything from 1/4 to 1/2 a bottle). If you want to leave the wine out substitute with water.
  • Add 2-3 teaspoons of herbs, 1 teaspoon of salt and 2-3 of black pepper.
  • Place lid on the casserole dish and cook in the oven on a low heat for 2-2.5 hours until the sauce is rich and thick and the beans are soft
  • Taste and adjust salt
When cool this can be frozen in portion bags (reheat in microwave) or dehydrating until fully dry (make sure you break up any lumps) weighing it 'wet' and 'dry' and noting the weight lost. 1 gramme of lost weight equates to 1 ml of water needed to rehydrate. Too little water will result in insufficient rehydration but 'too much' water will only result in a more 'soupy' cassoulet which can be ideal on a cold day.

At home this can be served with pitta bread to soak up the sauce or rice if you need more carbohydrates. When camping it's a meal in itself or can be eaten with crackers / oat cakes

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