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Sometimes in life everything comes together and things work out perfectly. This was exactly what happened in my kitchen last Sunday when I made this fabulous cassoulet. I was toying with what to make with the Chipolata sausages that I had got from France Gourmet and thought a french sausage stew would be perfect. Obviously I didn’t have the duck confit but everything else I had ready and waiting. We even had half a loaf of stale homemade bread just begging to be used. I also subbed canoli beans for baked beans as I had some and I think if anything the tomato sauce adds to the richness of the dish. It was divine and a perfect dinner for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Ingredients

500g of chipolata sausages (France Gourmet)

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

600g of baked beans

5 rashers of bacon

1 carrot

1 stick of celery

1 glass of wine

500ml of chicken stock.

1 tablespoon of mixed herbs.

150g of bread crumbs (about half a loaf)

30g of gruyere (or nicest cheese you have)

Directions

1. Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry off until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan but leave the fat. Then add the sausages and fry for a minute on each side to brown them, then remove from the pan too.

2. Roughly chop the onions, garlic and celery. Then pour the bacon fat into a large saucepan. Heat then add the onions, fry for a minute or two before adding the celery, garlic and carrots. After a few minutes add the sausages and bacon to the pot then pour in a glass of wine, let the wine reduce then add to the stock and bring to the boil.

3. Once the stew is boiling reduce the head and stir in the beans, season with salt and pepper and add the mixed herbs. Cook for another 5 minutes, then taste the sauce, it should already be delicious by this point. While the stew is cooking grate or tear the bread into pieces of crumbs.

4.  Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius, then put half of the stew into your dish then top with half the breadcrumbs. Top with the second half of the stew and then again with the second half of the bread crumbs.

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5. Pop the the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes, although keep an eye on the top. If the breadcrumbs look like they might burn, cover it with foil. After 30 minutes grate the Gruyere onto the top and return it to the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown. Serve by itself or with mashed potato or polenta.

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