Vegetarian Cassoulet recipe

PUBLISHED: 16:38 07 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:40 07 March 2014

Vegetarian Cassoulet

Vegetarian Cassoulet

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Louisa Foti provides us with a recipe for a vegetarian cassoulet, the ultimate in winter comfort food

Vegetarian Cassoulet contentsVegetarian Cassoulet contents

Vegetarian Cassoulet, I know, I know I know, a contradiction in itself! But I so happened to be in France a couple of weeks ago visiting friends and after a good deal of over-indulgence during the course of the holiday fancied on something a little lighter, meat free and veggie-tastic. Wishing to keep within the bounds of French cuisine this is what I made and happened to be exceptionally delicious despite it’s healthy credentials. So good in fact it’s been made twice since, and my kids have thoroughly enjoyed it too (happily buying into my description of ‘posh baked beans’).

A hearty and wholesome meal in it’s own right, especially if served with a hunk or two of good bread. But the dish would also make for a special vegetable side for a Sunday dinner or dinner party. And ironically the perfect accompaniment to duck confit, the key ingredient of classic Cassoulet. Cassoulet originates from Languedoc in the South of France, not at all far from my old stumping ground. It’s a rich and heavenly slow-cooked casserole of duck confit, Toulouse Sausage and white beans, not forgetting the near-obscene amount of duck or goose fat! Sometimes topped with breadcrumbs, sometimes not. A good cassoulet is a truly magnificent experience (believe me!) and the ultimate in winter comfort food. But usually my hamperings are for something lighter like this vegetarian version or my Chicken, Asparagus & Lemon Cassoulet (link to http://www.eatyourveg.co.uk/recipes/a-summery-chicken-asparagus-lemon-cassoulet/). Just in case you happen to be a cassoulet aficionado, I should quantify that both recipes are largely untrue to their original form, and are my personal takes on the classic.

Vegetarian CassouletVegetarian Cassoulet

Vegetarian Cassoulet, Serves 6

For the Stew:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, medium dice

1 celery sticks, finely sliced

5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

300ml white wine

1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1.5 cm chunks

1 small fennel, cut into generous sized slices

200g good quality mushrooms, left whole if small, halved or quartered if larger

3 bay leaves

1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

400ml tomato passata

400ml strong vegetable stock

3 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 very generous pinch black pepper

2 tins white beans (I used cannellini), drained and rinsed

For the Topping:

150g dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 dessertspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 dessertspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

salt and black pepper

Special Equipment: 1 large casserole pot, 1 large ovenproof serving dish

Method:

1) Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or a very large saucepan. Add the onions and celery and sauté for 10 minutes, before adding the garlic for a further minute.

2) Pour in the white wine and add the celeriac, fennel and mushrooms along with the bay leaves and rosemary. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

3) Stir in the tomato passata, vegetable stock, Dijon mustard and black pepper.

Bring back to a simmer, cover and leave to gently cook for 30 minutes.

4) Stir in the beans and allow to continue simmering for a further 10 minutes or until the vegetables are fully tender. Taste and season with more black pepper and salt if needed

6) Preheat your oven to 200°c/180°c fan/gas mark 6.

7) Make the breadcrumb topping by mixing together the breadcrumbs, olive oil, herbs and a generous pinch each of salt and black pepper.

8) Transfer the stew to a large ovenproof serving dish and scatter over the breadcrumb topping.

9) Bake for 25 minutes until the topping is golden and crunchy.

For more seasonal, local and sustainable recipes please do visit my family-friendly food site, Eat Your Veg. Sign up to receive updates via email or follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

See you next month folks!

Louisa

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