I was going to bring you a slow cooked Vegetable French Cassoulet this week for my second contribution to The Suma Blogger's Network but when I reached into the cupboard and brought out my casserole dish I noticed it was cracked so I decided to prepare it on the stove top instead. All is not lost though since one legend of this historical French dish states that it was originally cooked in a cauldron on top of an open fire so perhaps this stove top version has turned out to be authentic after all.
The French Cassoulet is a rustic bean stew originating from the Languedoc region of France. Haricot beans are a major part of the dish but it isn't traditionally vegetarian. However, I've tried to respect its origins by using the earthy flavours of chestnuts and mushrooms which have long been staple foods of France.
These luscious, vacuum packed, preservative free, cooked chestnuts from St Dalfour are perfect for this dish and they're available all year round. If you are following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet you may wish to prepare your own cooked chestnuts since they are considered to be an advanced food and because they are quite starchy they must be boiled in plenty of water until soft.
Suma's own brand organic chopped tomatoes and cooked haricot beans regularly appear on my shopping list. It's recommended that you soak and cook your own beans if you are on the Specific Carbohydrate diet so if you decide to use dried beans, you may like to follow the instructions here to prepare them ready for this dish.
The flavour of sweet aromatic herbs is elevated by the slow cooking of this casserole and even though I cooked it for a much shorter period of time on the stove top, when I took the lid off the pan the fragrance hit me immediately. I took a few sprigs of thyme, sage and rosemary and tied them together with a some parsley stalks then I placed the bundle on top of the vegetables and removed it just before serving.
Vegetable French Cassoulet GF SCD
3 medium onions
2 sticks celery sliced thinly
½ medium/large butternut squash cut into cubes
4 medium carrots cut into cubes
3 cloves garlic finely sliced
200 g button mushrooms
1 or 2 200 g jars of St Dalfour cooked chestnuts
2 x 400 g Suma Organic Haricot Beans rinsed or 500 g cooked beans
2 x 400 g tins of Suma chopped tomatoes
½ pint water or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
Fresh herb bundle of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & black pepper
- Peel the onions and cut into eight chunky pieces.
- Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a large pan, add the onion pieces and celery then cook gently for a few minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the sliced garlic, cubes of carrots and butternut squash and cook for another 5 minutes over a medium heat.
- Tip in the mushrooms and stir them into the vegetables.
- When the mushrooms start to change colour, pour in the tins of tomatoes, the cooked haricot beans and the water/stock.
- Add the bay leaves and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Lay the herbs on top of the vegetables, bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Take the lid off and if necessary, turn the heat up for a few minutes to thicken up the casserole.
- Remove the bundle of herbs, stir in the chestnuts and simmer for a couple of minutes to warm them through.
- Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and thyme.