and his wife Barbara who were living in the south of France. We drove to see La
Cite de Carcassonne, an amazing walled city which is about 90 km south east of
Toulouse. It poured rain and we got soaked to the skin exploring the castle and
the city. At lunch time we stopped at an old stone built restaurant within the
walls and warmed up with steaming bowls of cassoulet.
This is Sandy and Barbara’s recipe.
5 or 6 bay leaves
3 cups of dried white
2 Toulouse sausage,
thinly sliced. Choriso
would do in a pinch
1/2 kilo of pork cut into
1 inch pieces
1/2 kilo of any one of
the following cut into 1
5 or 6 cloves of garlic
1 shallot chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
2 tbsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper
A few sprigs of parsley
1 or 2 hot peppers
2 tomatoes roughly
Reserved bean water
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
First, soak the beans overnight. Boil the beans with 3 or 4 bay leaves until the
beans are chewable but not mushy. Set them aside but don’t drain them.
Preheat the oven to 375 and then drizzle olive oil into a large skillet and saute
the meat, garlic, shallot, red pepper, onion, along with the spices until the meat
is lightly browned.
In a large oven proof pot put enough beans to cover the bottom. Put 1/3 of the
meat mixture over the beans and some of the tomatoes, hot peppers, and the remaining
bay leaves. Continue to layer like this until you are out of ingredients.
Add the bean water and chicken stock until the liquid is just below the beans.
Bake the mixture for 2 hours. Let cool for a bit. Top up the pot with bean water
and chicken stock until it is back to its previous level, just below the beans.
Add the breadcrumbs and bake for another 1 1/2 hours or until the breadcrumbs have
Serve in large shallow bowls and serve with red wine. A Minervois or a Corbiere
would be authentic.