Inspired from a holiday in Spain, this cassoulet recipe tastes so good, with so little effort…
Please note the clean state of my kitchen prior to cooking and how it was left after my housemates cooked dinner!
My thirteen-year-old self was ravenous. I was in the back seat of a hire car, meandering round the hairpin bends of the Spanish hills.
Our destination was the beautiful village, Ronda. Think white buildings smothered in red flowers and old men in checked shirts chuckling outside bars, watched curiously by stray cats. I’d have spent all evening exploring had it not been for my whining stomach. We soon found a restaurant, where red and white tablecloths covered wooden tables and we sat in wicker chairs.
The portions were far from child sized but I finished it all – the luxurious butter beans and tender chicken the salvation my stomach had sought. The thick sauce, specked with smoked paprika, meaty nibbles of chorizo and fresh Spanish tomatoes vanished from the bowl. Once I had conquered the meal I reclined in my wicker chair very content.
On returning to England my mum recreated the cassoulet and when I make it now my student kitchen is transformed – the usual smells of browning bananas and disinfectant masked with the scents of paprika, garlic and thyme. It’s yummy, really yummy.
Ingredients to feed four people:
3 Chicken Breasts or Thighs, in chunks
100g Chorizo Sausage, skinned and chopped into small chunks
300g Tin of Butter Beans
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2x400g Tinned Tomatoes
1/2 Teaspoon dried Thyme
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
1 Leek, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1/2 Pint Chicken stock
Quantities are changeable. If you want more chorizo, add more! If you like less garlic, use less! You get the picture… You really can’t go wrong.
1. On the hob, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan or casserole dish. Once hot, cook the chicken chunks until brown then set aside on a plate for later.
2. Add the other tablespoon of oil to the now empty pan and cook the onions, leeks and carrots on a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Cover with a lid to let them sweat in their own juices.
3. Add the chorizo and smoked paprika to the pan. Turn up the heat and stir regularly for a couple of minutes.
4. Now add everything else. The tomatoes, butter beans, cooked chicken, garlic, thyme, stock and seasoning are all added to the pan and stirred well. Bring the cassoulet to simmering point then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, covered, for at least half an hour.
Serve with whatever you fancy! Chunky bread, salad or cous cous all go well.