This dish is so easy and simple but a magnificent French regional meal from the south Provence area although many areas have a similar put whatever you have left available into a pot and cook it principle. Cassoulet was made by local people mainly from dried beans left over during the winters.
This dish could be made from items of food stored for the winter like some of the cured meats meant to last through the winter period when most fresh vegetables meat and fish were scarce.
It has now grown in popularity due to the intense flavours that are developed by the ingredients in the dish.
Many of the top chefs have included it into their repertoire adding in there own ingredients to personalise the dish,but this recipe is still the basic classic meal enjoyed by many through history in Southern France.
1 400 tin butter beans.
1 x 400tin flageolet beans.
1x Carrots chopped into small cubes.
2x sticks of celery sliced thick
2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped.
1 cup of dried mixed mushrooms.
1/2 garlic clove finely crushed.
2 pints of good chicken stock (use a stock cube if you like).
1/2 lbs of smoked bacon (sliced into small squares.
2 lbs diced belly pork into 1inch squares.
1 tsp mixed herbs for Seasoning.
Salt and ground black pepper add for taste remember not to much you can always add in but not take it out.
5 tbsp of olive oil.
To provide the best cassoulet,fry on a high heat the diced belly pork in a frying pan and stir until all the meat is seared brown empty on a plate and cover it and put the meat to one side for later.
Saute the onions in the frying pan with a little olive oil until soft and translucent.
Remove the rind from a 1 lbs of smoked bacon and cut into 1cm cubes.
You don’t want the bacon to overpower the beans flavour.
Fry off the bacon so that it is lightly coloured.
Put inyour cassulet the beans, with the juices into your Slow cooker or Crockpot, add in combine all the ingredients vegetables,meats and juices cover with the hot chicken stock.
Remember you need less salt when using smoked bacon and it is always better to add more if required.
If you want to use this great recipe for a basis for soup, add more liquid stock.
Simmer on a low heat for at lest 4 hours.
It is better then to let it cool down and then place in a fridge over night this process let any fat rise and set so that you can then you can easily remove any excess that has set with with a spoon spatulaular.
Heat up to very hot and for Serve up to 4 persons.
Fresh crusty bread and a glass of red wine goes very well with this dish
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