I love making this dish. It’s so simple but the flavours are everything you want in a big bowl of mid-winter comfort food. And although it’s almost Spring in England … it’s still coat and glove weather, which means cassoulet remains firmly on my mid-week menu.
My version contains a high amount of GOS thanks to the white beans here, however I’ll pop a few suggestions in the recipe for those who are going through eliminations / can’t tolerate the beans.
you will need:
(makes enough for two people)
2 cups white beans (e.g. cannellini), soaked and cooked*
half a packet of good quality pancetta
4-6 good quality sausages
1 x tin of tomatoes
4 cups low FODMAP bone broth / chicken stock
splash of red wine
a few bay leaves, sprigs of thyme and rosemary
* substitute for white beans: use a few potatoes (boil first) or two finely diced carrots, to be fried in the pan with the sausages.
If you aren’t using canned beans, the first step is to soak the beans, and cook them. If you are cooking them, do so in a good amount of chicken stock – about 2 or 3 cups. This will make sure they start out full of flavour. Cook them in a big enough pot – you’ll be adding other bits to this later.
Take the leaves off a few spriggs of rosemary and thyme, reserving the stalks. Pop the stalks into a frying pan with the pancetta. Once the pancetta is crisp, remove it from the pan and reserve.
*If not using white beans, ensure that a) your potatoes are cooked or b) that your diced carrots have been fried in the pancetta fat and reserved before the sausages have gone in.
Chop the sausages into meatball sized chunks; it’s up to you whether or not you leave the skin on. I like to take it off and just use the sausage meat. Pop these into the pan (still with the herb stalks), adding a little garlic oil if you need. You’re just browning the sausages here, but I would advise cooking them most of the way through.
When your beans are cooked, or have been cooking in chicken stock for at least a little bit if they were from a can, you can start to add the other elements to your cassoulet.
The way I like to do it is this; add a tin of tomatoes, followed by a splash of red wine and the remaining cup of stock, and all the leaves and stalks of the herbs (chop the rosemary really finely and crack the bay leaves to help release their oils). Let this bubble and reduce a bit.
Once you’ve got a slightly thickened, gorgeous smelling base for your cassoulet, add the sausages. I like to add the pancetta here too because I think the longer it has to kind of melt into the stew the better, but if you like it crispy you can add this at the end too. Give it a taste, it may want some pepper.
This is comfort food …if you’re anything like me, hugging a bowl of this close to you as you eat it will always make your day a little bit better.