Cassoulet - slow-cooked bean stew

Cassoulet - slow-cooked bean stew

Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked bean casserole originating in the southwest of France, containing meat (typically pork sausages, pork, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin (couennes) and white haricot beans.

Cassoulet comes from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France and is named after a special kind of pot called 'cassole' or 'cassou' which was designed especially for french casseroles and was originally made in the village of Issel, near Castelnaudary. It was made from the red clay of the region and highly glazed.

In my opinion one of the best traditional counrty dishes from France. Perfect for a cold, wintery evening meal around the fire. Hearty and delicious, made well it 'warms the soul'.

Numerous regional variations exist, the best-known being from Castelnaudary, the self-proclaimed "Capital-of-Cassoulet", Toulouse, and Carcassonne.

All are made with white beans (haricots blancs, lingots), butter beans will not do, they will mush up in the cooking. The meat is usually duck or goose confit, pork and sausages. In the Cassoulet-of-Toulouse, the meats are pork and mutton.

The Carcassonne version is similar but doubles the portion of mutton and sometimes replaces the duck with partridge. The Cassoulet-of-Castelnaudary uses a roast duck instead of mutton and serves it in a special dish.

It is also sold in France as a commercial product in cans and can be found in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country. These wholesome french casseroles vary in price and quality. The cheapest ones contain only beans, tomato sauce, sausages, and bacon — duck and goose are expensive and thus are absent from such preparations. More expensive versions are likely to be cooked with goose fat and to include Toulouse sausages, lamb, goose, or duck confit.

serves:- 8, preparation time:- 5 mins, cooking time:- 2 hours,


* 1kg(2lb) of belly pork, rind removed and cut into large cubes,
* 6 pieces of preserved goose or duck with its fat,
* 750g(1 1/2lbs) of dried white haricot beans, soaked in water overnight,
* 10 cloves of garlic,
* 4 tomatoes, peeled deseeded and chopped,
* 750g or 1 1/2lbs of toulouse smoked sausage,
* 4 lightly cured pork sausages,
* 1 tablespoon of tomato puree,
* 1 bayleaf, thyme and 1 pinch of powdered cloves, salt and pepper
* fresh breadcumbs


1. Season the cubes of pork with salt and pepper and fry in some duck fat until golden,

2. Add the haricot beans, garlic, herbs, powdered cloves, pork rind, tomatoes and tomato puree,

3. Cover with fresh water and simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours

4. Part cook the sausages in some duck fat and put to one side with the pieces of preserved duck until the beans are cooked, (for recipe on preserved duck see confit de canard )

5. Preheat your oven to gas 4 or 200 deg C

6. Transfer the bean mixture to a greased earthware casserole and put the sausages and preserved duck in

7. Then put a layer of fresh breadcrumbs on the top

8. Cook in the oven for a further 20 mins 'et voila'

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