Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Full of Beans

A hill of beans!
We are an exotic bunch at our Atelier de Cuisine (Cookery Workshop).
I am the only Brit, but there are others with Polish, Romanian, German and Alsacien backgrounds.
And of course, cooks in the group from all different regions of France too.
We all try to bring a little of our own cuisine to the meetings. This time it was the turn of Anne from Alsace ( more of that in another blogpost) and Claudine from Béziers.

Claudine was making a traditinal Cassoulet from her region (South West France)- and she had brought enough ingredients to feed an army! The recipe below is for four very generous portions with plenty for leftover dishes.

Cassoulet à la façon de Claudine

500g of haricot beans (either soaked in cold water overnight or tinned)
300g of unsmoked bacon ( cut into large pieces)
4 duck legs
200g belly pork
4 Toulouse sausages
150g chopped tomatoes
2 carrots
2 cloves of garlic
1 bouquet garni
1 onion studded with cloves
salt and pepper
oil ( or duck fat) for frying

1. Either drain the beans ( if soaked ) and cover with cold water, then bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Or empty tinned beans into a heavy based pot, then refill the tins with water and pour over the beans.
2. Add the chopped bacon, the garlic, carrots, the onion, the tomatoes and the bouquet garni and leave to simmer.

Add the bacon, carrots, onion, tomatoes and herbs

 (If you are using soaked beans, this needs to simmer for an hour).

Leave to simmer
3. Meanwhile, cut the belly pork and duck legs into smaller portions.

Cut the duck legs into portions
4. Brown in a large frying pan.

Brown the pork and duck
5. Twist the sausages into smaller ones,

Portion up the Toulouse sausages
and fry them until golden.

Fry in a large pan
6. In a large ovenproof dish, place a layer of beans (seasoning as you go), then a layer of meat, and another layer of beans etc, finishing up with some meat on the top.

Layer up your stew and season well
7. Put the Cassoulet into an oven at 160 degrees and leave to cook for 1-2 hours until you are ready to eat.
8. For the last 15 minutes, add a sprinkling of crispy breadcrumbs and serve when golden.

Cassoulet à la façon de Claudine
The dish freezes really well but you can use the leftovers in a variety of ways.

Add them to bulk out a dish of Barbecued Beans- I make this with an assortment of different tinned beans- haricot, cannellini or butter beans. Slowly simmer in a slowcooker or in the oven with some softened onion, garlic and chilli, a tablespoon of black treacle, 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup, 1 dessertspoon of mustard, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a splash of Worcester sauce 
( and any 'bottom of the bottle' sauces from the storecupboard such as chutney, brown sauce,
sweet chilli, Hoisin).

Add treacle, mustard, ketchup- and anything else you fancy to the sauce!

Barbecue Baked Beans
Or you can make Cheese and Bean Quesdadillas:

Pitta Cheese and Bean Quesadillas
Or kick up the spice a bit more with some more chilli, and bake in the oven with an egg to make Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Well, that's it for now. Thanks to all my cookery workshop friends. It's bean fun!

Article from 'La Ruche'