This recipe for sausage cassoulet is perfect for Bonfire Night or Hallowe’en. It’s extremely hearty, so peppery green salad leaves, such as rocket or watercress, is all you’ll really need on the side. If you don’t want to soak the beans yourself, or can’t start the night before, replace them with two tins of drained beans on the day.
275 g dried cannellini or haricot beans
2 tbsp olive oil
8 good-quality chunky pork sausages
160g smoked pancetta, cut into 1cm strips
2 onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and flattened
227 g tin chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tablespoon soft dark brown sugar
600ml boiling water
60g fresh white breadcrumbs
Peppery green salad leaves, to serve
Put the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside, and leave to soak overnight. The next day, when you are ready to cook, discard any discoloured beans or ones that float to the top, drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas 1.
Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole and fry the sausages and pancetta until golden and well coloured; set aside.
Add the onions to the casserole and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and golden. Add the garlic a few minutes before the end.
Return the sausages and pancetta to the casserole and add the remaining ingredients, apart from the breadcrumbs. Bring just to the boil, cover and bake for 2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure it’s not drying out and add more water if necessary.
After 2 hours, remove the lid, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and bake for a further hour until the beans are tender and the top is golden and crunchy. Serve with a peppery green salad.
Recipe taken from Cooking for Real Life by Joanna Weinberg, published by Bloomsbury, £25.
Joanna Weinberg has written cookery columns for The Times, Red and currently Conde Nast Traveller. She runs Kitchen Table Cookery School at The Talbot Inn, Mells, Somerset