Cassoulet

This is a great winter warmer, or just a nice hearty dish you can throw together after a long day at work.

Good quality sausages work best in this recipe because they kind of make the dish. The more flavourful and the better quality meat used will result in a better cassoulet. If you aren't a fan of pork you can definitely substitute for beef or chicken sausages and if you want to get flavoured sausages thats fine too- just make sure the flavours compliment (don't have asian-flavoured sausages or anything, pork and fennel is a fantastic flavour for this dish!).

You will need... For 2-3 large serves
6 good quality pork chipolatas
1 small brown onion or two eschalots/eschallions
1 small carrot
1 stick celery
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbs olive oil
1 generous cup of dry white wine
1 420gr tin chopped Italian tomatoes
1 420gr tin of cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed well.
1/4 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
chopped parsley
crusty bread and pesto to serve (optional)

Method...
1. Peel and cut the onion and carrot into small dice, wash and cut the celery to the same size and crush the garlic.

2. Heat half the olive oil in a medium sized heavy-base pot. Add the sausages and brown the outsides without cooking all the way through. Remove and set aside.
3. Add the remaining oil to the pot and carefully place the onion, carrot and celery in. Stir, with a wooden spoon over a medium-low heat until onion begins going transparent then add the garlic, oregano, bay leaves and seasoning and stir to release the flavours.
4. Turn the heat back to high, then quickly add the wine. Allow to boil and cook out slightly before adding the tinned tomatoes, sugar and 2 cups of warm water. Bring to the boil once more, reduce heat to a simmer then cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until sauce has begun to thicken.

5. Add the washed beans and stir through, cook for 5 more minutes before cutting the sausage into thick slices, adding to the pot and leaving to simmer for another 10 minutes.

6. Add the chopped parsley and serve a hearty portion in a bowl with some fresh crusty bread. If you like, serve a nice dollop of pesto on top as I have done (recipe link here --> hot-smoked-salmon-salad-with-pesto-peas, or just cheat and buy it in a container from the grocery store like I did this time :-P)


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