Tonight I made something a bit like Cassoulet – a sort of bean stew thing with sausages. Okay, it’s technically a winter dish and it’s, like, the hottest month ever but it’s still really rather delicious, and so I thought I’d share the recipe with y’all. I don’t really do quantities and measurement and stuff, but it’s a casserole, not a cake; you don’t really need to be millilitre accurate or anything.


  • An onion, diced
  • Clove of garlic, crushed and diced
  • Tin of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Four nice chunky sausages
  • Some Basil (I used fresh, chopped, but I suspect dried would work fine, as would pretty much any sort of fragrant herb)
  • Vegetable stock cube
  • A dried chilli or two, if you like
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt and pepper
  • Half a cup of water

Preheat your oven to about 180°C ish. I’m not convinced it matters hugely about the temperature, but you’re going to be baking this for a couple of hours so you don’t want it too hot – we’re baking, not roasting here.

Get some sort of pyrex dish – big enough to hold the ingredients, and with a lid – and stick a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in it. Add the onion and garlic and give it a bit of stir to coat the ingredients with oil. Put the lid on and bung it in the oven for about five or ten minutes or something, until the onion goes soft and kind of translucent. It’ll smell fantastic.

Once it’s done, bung all the rest of the ingredients (except the sausages) in the dish and stir it all together. Then sit the sausages on top, put the lid back on and put it in the oven. And leave it there for about an hour and a half. Then take the lid off, turn the oven down a bit – you’re just trying to thicken it all up a bit now. Taste it – it’ll be really hot so be careful – and season if necessary.

Then after about another half an hour or so, take it out of the oven, spoon into a bowl and eat, accompanied by a nice red wine from somewhere in the south of France.

You’ll be able to vary this in any number of ways – I reckon a glass of red wine instead of the water would work quite well, and sticking some nice fatty chunks of bacon in it at the start with the onion and garlic would be nice. Cassoulet recipes in France vary from town to town – some people would use goose fat and duck, some would use lamb. So I reckon you could add pretty much anything – within reason – to this and it’d still work.

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