Creole spices enliven this hearty mixed bean and vegetable casserole. Like the classic French cassoulet, it has a crisp crumb topping. With the accompanying refreshing salad, it makes a tasty, well-balanced meal.
1 person made this
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
150 g (5½ oz) chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
750 ml (1¼ pints) vegetable stock, preferably home-made light or rich
150 g (5½ oz) dried flageolet beans, soaked overnight and drained
150 g (5½ oz) dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
Preheat the oven to 160ºC (325ºF, gas mark 3). Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes over a low heat to soften the onion slightly. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, tomatoes with their juice, tomato purée, celery, mushrooms, sugar and plenty of pepper. (Do not add salt now as it will harden the beans.) Pour in the stock and stir in the flageolet an 1/2 pinto beans, then bring to the boil. Cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender.
Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir in 2 tbsp of the chopped parsley and add salt to taste. Increase the oven temperature to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). In a bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter until it is evenly distributed. Spoon the breadcrumbs over the beans and return the casserole to the oven, uncovered. Cook for a further 45 minutes or until the liquid has thickened and the breadcrumbs are golden.
Just before the bean pot has finished cooking, make the salad. Shred the lettuce and place in a salad bowl. Cut all the peel and pith from the oranges. Holding the oranges over the salad bowl, use a small sharp knife to cut the segments from between the membranes, allowing the juice and segments to drop into the bowl with the lettuce. Drizzle the oil over, add the almonds and toss together gently.
Remove the bean pot from the oven, scatter on the remaining 1 tbsp of chopped parsley and serve with the salad on the side.
Some more ideas
Instead of almonds, add 2 coarsely grated carrots to the salad with 2 tbsp poppy seeds. Soak 2 tbsp currants in 2 tbsp orange juice for several hours or overnight, then add them with the carrots and poppy seeds. * Peppery rocket is delicious with the oranges and almonds in the salad. Use 85 g (3 oz) instead of the lettuce. * Instead of breadcrumbs, top the casserole with slices of garlic bread. Cream 1 crushed garlic clove with 40 g (1½ oz) butter and spread over 8 slices of French bread. Cook for only 30 minutes. * Use all flageolet beans instead of a mixture of pinto and flageolet, or a combination of haricot and flageolet. Haricot with black-eyed or red-kidney beans is also good.
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps the body to absorb the iron provided by the beans. * Beans and pulses are rich in soluble fibre and have a low glycaemic index. This means they are broken down slowly so they are more satisfying, making you feel full for longer and keeping blood sugar levels stable. * Almonds contribute protein to the salad accompaniment plus some vitamin E.
Each serving provides
C, E, copper, iron * B1, folate, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc * A, niacin
This was stupendous. I made it with a tin of mixed beans, which cut out all that soaking business and made it a quick meal. Also used a pinch of cinnamon as no sticks. By using sunflower spread instead of butter, I made it a Vegan meal. Best of all was the lovely salad - the combo of oranges, almonds and lettuce was a great surprise and very good. Thanks!
06 Jan 2013