This chorizo and butterbean cassoulet is a proper winter warmer, packed with spicy sausages and great flavours. You may like to cook your beans from dried if you have time, but I often use canned for speed and ease. I’m all for making life easy when possible.
2 tbsp olive oil
500g merguez (spicy North African sausages)
80g smoked bacon or pancetta, cut into small strips
140g chorizo, sliced
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
100ml good-quality red wine
400g can of tomatoes, drained
400g can of butter beans, drained
250ml chicken stock
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Place a flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of the oil. Add the merguez and cook them on all sides until golden brown. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and then the smoked bacon or pancetta and the chorizo. Cook over a medium heat until they have both browned and the chorizo has released its oils. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3–4 minutes until the onion has softened. Stir in the smoked paprika and cook for a couple of minutes to release the maximum flavour.
3. Add the wine, bring to the boil and cook until it has reduced by half. Now add the tomatoes, butter beans, browned merguez and the chicken stock and bring back to the boil. Cover the dish and place it in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the sauce has nicely reduced.
4. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and add the chopped tarragon. This is meant to be quite an oily dish but you can drain off some of the chorizo oil if you like. Serve immediately with some hunks of good crusty bread.
Recipe from Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery Course by Rosemary Shrager (BBC Books, £20.00)