Saturday, December 11, 2010


The first time I ever had this dish Shelley and I were visiting my brother Sandy
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
beans, (lingots)
Olive Oil
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
inch pieces
- duck
- chicken
- turkey
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.

Coconut Risotto with Prawn Korma

Coconut Risotto
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 400 ml can coconut milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp chopped Green Onions
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 ½ cups arborio rice
¼ cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

In a pot, combine the chicken stock and the coconut milk. Bring just to a boil, remove from heat and set aside.
Heat a large frying pan on medium, heat olive oil and add green onions and stir until soft. Add the coconut flakes and rice and continue stirring for 1 minute
Pour in wine and stir until almost all is absorbed.
Add stock-coconut milk mixture ½ cup at a time and stir until almost absorbed before adding another. Continue stirring gently and adding broth mixture until it is all gone and rice is tender. This will take about 35 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add butter, salt and pepper and serve.

Prawn Korma
1 Onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 can of Patak’s Korma Curry
½ a cup of water
500 grams of raw prawns peeled
½ a cup of whipping cream

About 10 minutes before you expect the Risotto to be ready
In a frying pan sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent in butter
Add the Curry and the water
Heat until simmering
Add the prawns and stir gently until they are cooked
Stir in the cream and reheat

Serve the risotto in a shallow bowl and distribute the curry evenly on top of each dish.

Serves 4 to 6 people