• Chef Dylan

CHICKEN CASSOULET



This is one of those dishes that everyone thinks needs hours to prepare and cook, and they are right. The original recipe required confit duck which I personally find too rich, so I’ve replaced the duck with chicken thighs. I’ve also sped up the dish by using canned cannelloni beans which means you can have this dish on the table in an hour.

Now that the weather has cooled down, it’s definitely the right time to start cooking comfort food and if you have never tried this dish, do yourself a favour and have a go at it. It really is pretty straight forward. Basically, you pan fry chicken and sausage then crisp up the bacon and throw it in a pot with some veg. Top it up with stock and let it simmer for 30 minutes - dinner done! This recipe can keep up to one week in the fridge and also freezes very well

Did you know? The word 'cassoulet' derives from the earthenware casserole it is cooked in, the cassolle or cassolo, a special vessel made by the local potters, from the terre d’Issel, Issel being a village in the vicinity of Castelnaudary. The word 'cassolo' comes directly from the Spanish. But where does the Spanish word 'cassa', meaning 'a receptacle for carrying liquid', from which it derives come from? It seems the word casserole has a complicated history. It starts with a classical Greek term for a cup 'kuáthos' progressing to the Latin word 'cattia' which could mean both ladle and pan, and then becoming the Provençal casa that transforms into the Old French word 'casse' that gives the name today, 'cassolle', casserole or .cassoulet'.


I’m in London and am nervous and excited because tonight in Oxford, I will get to hear a man talk, who is well worth my journey of traveling 5000km for. It starts at 7.30pm sharp and it's currently 3.15pm. Right on time arrives the double decker bus that is the Oxford Express. London to Oxford in about an hour-and-a-half which is perfect, as we should arrive at 5.30pm just in time to meet my dear friend and food enthusiast Chris and his wife an artisan jeweller as they finish work; then it’s off to the talk.

The bus lumbers its way through the bustling London streets and I see it as a kind of tour. I enjoy the magnificent architecture of St Paul's Cathedral in one moment and then the four-story glass museum showroom of Porsche the next. But time is ticking. It’s 4pm and we are not even out of London yet.. Optimistically I think, “We can still make it”. Just out of London, finally the motorway opens up and ancient forests silhouetted against the setting sun take the place of houses in open fields that stretch as far as I can see.


As darkness descends, the bus crawls to a sudden halt. Painfully slowly we edge forward until the bus takes a turn up a dirt road. The driver expertly guides the bus round the tight bends of the seemingly one lane country roads and much to the surprise of the many passengers we finally arrive in Oxford, but alas it is 7.15pm. I still need to take a 30-minute taxi from the bus terminal to my talk and my heart sinks. Stepping off the bus I am gutted, but just then my phone rings.


It’s Chris. A smile springs to my face. “Hello mate, listen I’ve just come back from the butcher. I’ve got some bacon, pork sausages and chicken thighs. What are we going to whip up?” says Chris. Straight away I think back to my time in France and say, "Cassoulet my friend”. “Excellent! Let’s have a cheeky wine at the pub first and the good news is, it’s right next door to me.”

“Sounds good. We’ll see you soon!” I say as I hang up. My wife asks, “Are you sad you’ve missed the talk from your world-famous philosopher darling?”. Smiling, I say, “It’s hard to be sad with such good friends around”.


PREP TIME: 15 mins

COOKING TIME: 1 hr

SERVINGS: 4-6


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 x 400g canned cannellini beans

  • 1ltr chicken stock (cubes are ok)

  • 300g bacon, cut into 1cm strips

  • 1kg (about 6 to 8 pieces) of chicken thighs (bone in)

  • 500g high quality pork sausage

  • (2 to 4 links depending on size)

  • 1 large onion, 1cm diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 carrot, unpeeled, cut into 2 cm disks

  • Garden herbs, chopped

  • 4 tbsps GAUCHO

METHOD


  1. Heat 1tbs of olive oil in a large fry pan on medium heat and fry the chicken thighs skin side down for 6 minutes until crisp. Reserve in a bowl.

  2. In the same pan cook the sausages on medium heat turning often until cooked (6-8 minutes).

  3. Heat 1tbs of olive oil in a large pot, add bacon and cook until crispy. Add the onion and carrot and cook stirring for 5 minutes, then stir in GAUCHO marinade.

  4. Add stock, cannellini beans, chicken thighs and sausage back into the pot and simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Remove sausage and slice into 1cm discs and stir back into pot (optional).

TO SERVE


Dish up into ceramic bowls with a sprinkle of herbs and serve with a glass of Pinot Noir.