Friday, December 10, 2010

Connemara Cassoulet

The humble banger is a major part of the Irish fry, further being deserted for a weekend treat. But we are improving on what types of sausage are available on the market.
A user on was asking about what to do with smoked sausages from Galway - and what came to mind with the ingredients mentioned was a traditional French casserole, the Cassoulet.

Using typical Irish food, its easy to develop it into a Connemara version.
Cassoulet is like collard greens in that is a poor mans food, a staple dish based on beans and meat.
It is a traditional winter dish from the south of France.
With the weather we have been having, this is ideal, cheap and easy food to cook, full of flavour.

There are several variations on Cassoulet, but what ties them together is the use of haricot - white beans.
Most Irish are very familiar with this particular veg, but we get it drowned in sugar and tomato sauce, as tinned baked beans.
Again, I am trying to take a French dish and give it an Irish twist, and it came out quite well.
I grew and dried Haricot and Borlotti beans this year.
But if you cannot find Haricot beans, there is an option - not great but it's still there - that is to buy baked beans and rinse off the tomato sauce, but there will always be a slight hint of that flavour which is not the idea for me.
Prep: 10 min - Bake: 35 min
4 sausages cut into 3rds - pick what you like, I a mix of apple leek and peppered from a local butcher.
I get mine, made in store, from McGoughs in Oughterard.
Fantastic tasting, they have won pretty much every award going.

2 tablespoons Cuinneog Butter
2 medium (1/2 cup) carrots, chopped
1 medium (1/2 cup) leek, chopped
1 medium (1/2 cup) onion, chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
800 gm soaked homegrown or 2 cans haricot beans, rinsed, drained
I added some tinned kidney beans to bulk out the white beans.
100 gm black pudding (optional)
100 gm bacon or rashers, diced (optional)
1 can chopped tomato
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 180°C.
Oil a casserole dish casserole.
Melt butter in a pan until sizzling; add carrots, onion and garlic.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened (3 to 5 minutes).
Brown the sausages, bacon and black pudding.
Combine onion mixture, meats, sausage, tomato's and thyme in prepared casserole.
Cover; bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and carrots are crisply tender. Sprinkle with parsley.
I did a bread crumb topping for the cassoulet.

To prepare the topping, combine
1 tablespoon Butter,
1/2 cup bread crumbs,
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic in a pan.

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bread crumbs are golden brown (3 to 5 minutes).
Sprinkle crumb topping over bean mixture.
Bake as directed above.

I'd did some Chickpeas separately, with coriander and red onion as a side accompaniment, just fry the onion with ground and leaf coriander, add the chickpeas and blitz in the blender if you like

As always, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment, I really appreciate the feedback - and there's also a new addition to the panel - a Facebook application to allow you to share this blog with friends.

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  1. Bless your heart and soul for these recipes! May I feature them on my Bob Vivant Bloggeroo!
    I sure hope so!

  2. Hey Z... I'm the person who started this whole quest when I posted on looking for tips! Unfortunately, I hared off and made my own concoction - which is a pity because this dish looks amazing! I guess I'll just have to put in an order with McGeough's butchers and see if they'll ship a fresh consignment to Dublin... Oh well... ;)
    Thanks again - and keep up the good work!


Thanks for commenting - its cool that you took the time