Tuesday, July 6, 2010

dinner date

This is my version of a cassoulet, a French slow-cooked stew with beans and meat - most often confit duck and pork sausages. Using canned beans and chicken thighs (instead of confit duck!) speeds things up and makes it more of an everyday meal. We ate the cassoulet with mashed potato which was completely unnecessary (as beans make the cassoulet quite substantial), but delicious all the same.

4 chicken thighs
4 good quality pork sausages
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, finely diced
2 sticks celery, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup tomato passata
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can cannellini beans (drained and well-rinsed)
Bay leaves & fresh herbs (rosemary, parsley, thyme)

Heat a heavy based lidded pan over a medium heat. Add a little oil and brown chicken and sausages. Remove chicken thighs and sausages from pan and slice each into 3-4 pieces.

Turn down the heat and add onion to pan. Cover with lid and cook until soft. Add garlic, carrot and celery and cook for a few minutes until carrot and celery starts to soften.

Turn heat up to medium, add white wine and leave it simmer for a minute or two before adding passata, tomatoes, bay leaves and any fresh herbs you have handy. Put the meat back into pan and cover with lid. Leave to simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Season with salt & pepper

Serves 4 hungry people.

We followed the cassoulet with a colourful winter salad of salad leaves, shredded red cabbage, finely sliced apple and toasted walnuts dressed with a mix of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard and brown sugar. Yum!

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