This is a simple version of the great classic from south-west France. It’s quite an indulgence and a small portion provides an amazing amount of fuel. It’s perfect for filling up the freezer – especially as the oven does most of the work for you.

Make in 3 hours 30 minutes (30 minutes prep, 3 hours in the oven)

  • Makes 4-6 portions
  • 2 of your 5 a day
  • Can be frozen

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 12 pork sausages
  • 400g bacon lardons
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 x 400g tins of haricot beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 40g breadcrumbs

    Method

    1. In an oven-proof casserole dish, heat the oil and add the sausages for 10 minutes until they are golden, then set aside. (You might need to do this in batches.)
    2. Add the bacon lardons and fry for 4-5 minutes until browned, then set aside with the sausages.
    3. Soften the onion in the oil remaining in the pan for 2 minutes, add the carrot and celery for another 5 minutes and finally add the garlic for another minute.
    4. Add the ingredients into the casserole dish in layers – a third of the beans, then half of the onion, carrots and celery mix, and half the thyme (plus a quick season with salt and pepper), next half the sausages and bacon. Repeat and then finish with the beans on top. Push the bay leaves deep into the cassoulet.
    5. Measure out 600ml of hot water and mix in the tomato purée. Pour the liquid over the cassoulet.
    6. Pop the casserole dish in the oven at 140°C/120°C fan/gas mark 1 and bake with the lid on for about 2 hours.
    7. Add the breadcrumbs and bake for another hour without the lid, before serving.

      Tip

      This dish can be frozen but it also keeps well in the fridge, arguably improving with flavour (up to a certain point!) so consider leaving a portion or two aside when dividing this up for the freezer.