Friday, March 09, 2007

with leek and butternut squash

The traditional French cassoulet contains pork or sausages, combined with white haricot beans and baked for a long time in the oven. It's easy to adapt this recipe - a splash of red wine, some tomatoes and vegetables, cannellini instead of Haricot - and it always tastes fantastic. Eat with traditional French bread (what else?!). Dried cannellini, by the way, are really easy to cook - as long as you remember to soak them overnight - they take just 40 minutes boiling with a tsp of bicarb. (You can still use them if you forgot to soak: put them into cold water and bring to the boil, then take off the heat and leave for a few hours before cooking.)

1 leek, finely shredded
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
250g slice butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped
200g cooked cannellini beans (100g dried)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1tsp dried sage
1tsp red wine vinegar
1tbsp sundried tomato puree
0.5tsp brown sugar
1 slice old white bread, chopped into breadcrumbs
1tbsp parmesan

Preheat the oven to about 14o deg C.

Saute the leek and squash in 1tbsp olive oil, warmed in a large casserole dish. Add the garlic and stir for a minute before adding the beans, tomatoes, sage, vinegar, puree and sugar. Stir everything together, cover, and bring slowly to a simmer. Add the cooked cannellini beans, and put into the oven for 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven, take off the lid, stir, and add a splash more water if necessary (you want a thick stew here). Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and then the parmesan over the top and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Stand for 10 minutes before dishing up - and serve with crusty bread.