Having worked for us in the capacity of campsite courier and maintenance assistant as well as enjoying a fair few camping holidays with Canvas, our good friend Karen Wright from 2018’s Great British Bake Off knows a thing or two about our destinations. She also knows a fair amount about serving up delicious dishes and yummy bakes, so has all the ingredients needed to rustle up a brilliant blog about her favourite dishes and the destinations they come from.
This dish originates in Castelnaudary a fortified town in this region. During the 100 years’ war against the English, the Cassoulet fed the townspeople, kept them from starvation and enabled them to dispel the invaders. Made from cheap cuts of pork and sausage and white beans it is always cooked and served in a large earthenware pot. It is not suitable for vegetarians!
There are some amazing places to visit inland in this region or stay at. The campsite called Val de Cantobre is up in the Cevennes is another fave of mine, you can see vultures soaring on thermals as you sit at your emplacement.
The meat to use in this dish can be anything you fancy really but generally it is pork, chicken, or duck and always a mixture of each. If you can get Toulouse sausages, then that is brilliant, but I just used regular pork. Chicken thighs are better than breast and I also used belly pork and lardons. The beans can be any, even baked beans in tomato sauce! If you want to spice this up you can add chilli too although it is not traditional.
Ingredients to serve 4:
- 4 slices belly pork
- 200g smoked lardons
- 4 chicken thighs
- 4 pork sausages
- 1 chopped onion
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 sticks celery chopped
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 tbs plain flour
- 200ml white wine
- 2 cans white beans
- 1 can tinned tomatoes
- 1 tbs tomato puree
- 1 tbs dried thyme
- 1 tbs smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh parsley
Heat a frying pan and gently fry the belly pork to render some of the fat, increase the heat to brown it and place in a casserole dish.
Brown the lardons and the chicken thighs in the frying pan and add to the casserole.
Prick the sausages and brown in the frying pan, cook the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots for a few minutes alongside to soften. Scatter over the flour, this will aid thickening later. Place everything in the casserole.
Pour the wine into the frying pan and bring to boil, this collects the remaining juices (deglazing) add the remaining ingredients bar the parsley. Cover the casserole with a lid or foil and bake in a hot oven for about one hour thirty minutes until bubbling and thick, remove the cover and cook for about another twenty minutes to encourage it to thicken up.
Scatter with parsley and serve with crusty bread.