This is the ultimate comfort food... Gascogne Cassoulet, a smoky, garlicky bean feast. Give yourself a couple of hours. There are a million variants, but this is an easy starter recipe.
- two tins of haricot beans or similar white beans (drained)
- lardons, good handful
- whole head of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bayleaf
- fresh thyme, few sprigs
- 4 med tomatoes (finely chopped) or half a tin
- tomato puree (heaped dessert spoon)
- 4-6 toulouse sausages (they're a mix of smoked and unsmoked pork - so if not available try and find similar) - Peelham Farm's are recommended
- Dessert spoon of duck fat
- Decent pinch or two of salt
- Optional - two pieces of duck confit
Fry the lardons in the duck fat until golden, add the garlic and soften.
Add the beans, herbs, tomatoes and puree, and salt - add water to make sure beans are completely covered. Put in a covered casserole dish and into a pre-heated oven at medium heat (around 175C) for 90 mins. Check periodically to make sure the water level hasn't reduced below the beans - you don't want it to dry out.
Fry the sausages until lightly browned on both sides, add to the casserole dish after an hour or so, and submerge.
On 90 mintutes remove the lid, and put back in the over for 30 mins (pop the confit on top if you're having it!). Check every ten minutes or so that it hasn't dried too much - you're trying to create a golden, rich sauce (add a bit of water or leave it a bit longer if your balance isn't quite right...)
Cassoulet is a classic dish of the French South West, Gascony in particular - we'd suggest the following wines: