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Friday, May 28, 2010

Chicken and Pork Cassoulet

What is a cassoulet?

Cassoulet is a dish that dates back to at least the 14th century, and originates from the south of France.

Typically it was made with a meat, either pork sausages, pork, goose or duck and was combined with white beans, traditionally haricot beans.  The dish is actually named after the vessel that it was cooked in the cassole which was a deep round earthenware pot with slanting sides.

Today the term cassoulet is applied to any hearty bean based casserole.

Last night I made a Chicken and Pork Cassoulet - a rustic, simple, but hearty winter warmer.

Chicken and Pork Cassoulet

Serves 6

1.5kg chicken drummettes (these are the little wing "drumsticks")
500g pork sausages - cut in to 4cm pieces
1 brown onion, chopped
1 leek, halved, washed, thinly sliced
150g bacon rashers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
400g can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
400g cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

In a non stick frypan over medium high heat cook the sausages until browned on the outside.  Put aside in a large bowl.  Cook the chicken drumettes until golden on the outside - place in the bowl with the sausages.  You are only browning them - not cooking them.  I didn't use any oil for doing this - there was sufficient in the sausages and in the chicken skin.

Add a small amount of olive oil to the pan and add the onion, leek, bacon, garlic and thyme.  Cook, stirring for approximately 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.  Add the tomato, bay leaves, beans and stock. Bring to the boil.

Place the sausages and chicken in a large flat overproof dish (3L size).  Pour over the tomato mixture.

Top with the fresh breadcrumbs.  I then sprayed carefully with garlic spray to help crispen up the breadcrumbs.  This needs to be baked for approximately 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  You will need to keep an eye on this though.  If the breadcrumbs are cooking too quickly - cover lightly with foil.  Another idea is to cook for approximately 15-20 minutes then add the breadcrumb topping.  If you try this let me know how you go!!

Serve with steamed green beans.

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