Cassoulet usually gets lots of its flavour from pork or duck fat, but The Hairy Bikers have managed to make their recipe just as tasty while stripping out lots of the unnecessary calories, for a lighter meal. With plenty of herby pork meat, smoked gammon and garlic this cassoulet is bursting with the classic French flavours you’d expect.
- ½ tsp sunflower oil
- 6 good-quality herby sausages, at
- least 85% meat
- 4 celery sticks
- 3 medium carrots
- 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- (about 450g)
- 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
- 200g piece of smoked lean gammon,
- trimmed and cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
- 150ml red wine (or water)
- 300ml cold water
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 4–5 bushy sprigs of fresh thyme
- 400g can of cannellini beans in
- water, drained and rinsed
- 400g can of butter beans in water,
- drained and rinsed
- freshly ground black pepper
- handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- finely grated zest of ½ well-scrubbed
- large orange
Brush a large non-stick frying pan with the sunflower oil, using the tip of a pastry brush. Add the sausages to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, turning every now and then until nicely browned on all sides. Meanwhile, trim the celery and peel the carrots and cut them into diagonal slices about 1.5 centimetres thick.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Add the onions to the frying pan and cook with the sausages for 6–8 minutes, stirring regularly until softened and lightly browned.
Trim the chicken thighs of any visible fat – we find a good pair of kitchen scissors does the job well – then cut them in half. Add the garlic and chicken pieces to the pan with the sausages and onions and cook for 3–4 minutes, turning the chicken twice until coloured all over. Transfer everything to a large flameproof casserole dish.
Stir in the gammon, celery, carrots, tomatoes, red wine and water, then sprinkle over the caster sugar and chilli flakes. Stir in the bay leaf and thyme and season with lots of ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer on the hob, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 45 minutes.
Take the casserole out of the oven and stir in all the beans. Cover with the lid again and put the dish back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Just before the cassoulet is ready, prepare the garnish. Chop the parsley roughly and toss with the orange zest in a serving dish. Serve large portions of the cassoulet in deep plates or wide bowls with a good sprinkling of the zesty parsley garnish on each one.