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Crusted Cassoulet

Crusted Cassoulet

 

Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus soaking
Cooking time: 11/2-13/4 hours

Serves 6

  • 125 g (4 oz) dried haricot beans, soaked overnight

  • 1.2 liters (2 pints) water

  • 15 g (1/2 oz) dried ceps

  • 150 ml (7 pint) boiling water

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 250 g (8 oz) baby onions, halved

  • 175 g (6 oz) mixed mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon each chopped thyme, rosemary and sage

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 2 celery sticks, sliced

  • 1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and diced

  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) red wine

  • 4 tablespoons tomato puree

  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

  • salt and pepper

Topping:

  • 1/2 small French stick, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme

  • 25 g (1 oz) vegetarian Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Drain the beans and place in a saucepan with the measured water. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve 300 ml (1/2 pint) of the cooking liquid.

  2. Soak the dried ceps in the boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid. Slice the ceps.
    Heat half the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic and onions for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and herbs and stir-fry for a further 5 minutes until the mushrooms are golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  3. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and fry the carrots, celery and pepper for 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil rapidly for 3 minutes. Stir in the beans and their liquid, the mushroom mixture, the ceps and their liquid, the tomato puree and soy sauce and season to taste. Spoon into 4 small ovenproof dishes or 1 large gratin dish.

  4. Layer the sliced bread over the cassoulet. Mix together the oil, garlic and thyme, brush over the bread and scatter with the Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and place in a preheated oven, 190C (375F) Gas Mark 5, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 20 minutes until the crust is golden.

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