Lentil and Sausage Cassoulet

Cassoulet

This post seems to be one that needs a few apologies. I know, the picture isn’t great. We are coming into the season where I am never near a kitchen during daylight, and with that comes some slightly off photography. Also, for the purists among you, I know this isn’t really in the strictest sense a cassoulet. It’s like a cassoulet light, all the taste with a reduced chance of ending up with gout after a few mouthfuls. Proper cassoulet from Languedoc is made just with beans and the contents of a farmyard (duck, pork, lamb, goose and sausage).

I had a lovely rich cassoulet last winter in Ma Bourgogne in the Marais that left me gasping for air and fully fortified to face the bitter Parisian cold. I remain convinced that Paris in winter is the coldest place in Europe. Northern Denmark seemed balmy in comparison when I returned. While there is a time and a place for that, this recipe takes a little of the meat and replaces it with juicy stock enriched lentils. It’s a lovely dish for the blustery weather we’re having, and one that actually tastes even better the day after its made. Dublin has a big Polish community and with that comes lots of Polish supermarkets filled with fantastic and inscrutably labelled sausages. Kielbasa is a good one to try with a nice garlic flavour that substitutes well for Toulouse sausage. This recipe serves 4 generously, especially if you have some nice crusty bread to accompany it.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 350g Kielbasa or good quality garlic sausage, sliced into 2cm thick slices
  • 150g bacon, chopped
  • 250g lentilles verts or puy lentils
  • 1 x 400g tin of flageolot beans, drained
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped, or half a tin of tomatoes
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 300ml good chicken, pork or beef stock
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Cook the lentils for 10-15 minutes in a pot of boiling water  with a bay leaf and a clove of garlic until chewy and almost completely cooked.
  • Fry the bacon in a large ovenproof casserole with a little olive oil over a medium heat until starting to crisp.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Fry the onion over a medium-low heat in the bacon grease until glossy and soft 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and the kielbasa and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the bacon, wine, stock, bay leaf, tomato puree and tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add the beans and the lentils and season well.
  • Cook in the oven at 175C for 20 minutes until some of the liquid has absorbed.
  • Top with the breadcrumbs and cook for another hour to 1 and 1/4 hour until the liquid has been almost completely absorbed, the cassoulet is bubbling and breadcrumbs are crunchy (if it is not cooking fast enough, you can reduce it a bit on the stove at the end, but this will make the breadcrumbs a bit soggy).
  • Leave to sit for 10 minutes to rest and then serve.
  • Alternatively, refrigerate overnight and reheat the next day.
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10 thoughts on “Lentil and Sausage Cassoulet

  1. My darling I love a Cassoulet of any creation and this one looks divine. When friends look at the pics from our trips they always ask why I eat the same thing (Cassoulet) everywhere I go……my response is that the Cassoulet is the thread that binds all of mankind together.

  2. I, too, am a cassoulet lover, finding it the perfect antidote for any day in January in Chicago. Your recipe sounds delicious and I got a chuckle when I read your description: ” … all the taste with a reduced chance of ending up with gout …”. Too funny!

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