About this recipe: A traditional French cassoulet would take several hours to cook, but you can make this shortcut version using canned beans and succulent, quick-browned duck breasts, then leave it to bubble on the hob. Serve with crusty garlic bread and steamed Savoy cabbage.
You can give the cassoulet a traditional topping, if you have time. Preheat the grill to high, then scatter 4 tbsp dried breadcrumbs over the cassoulet at the end of step 3. Grill until the crumbs turn golden (if necessary, wrap a wooden handle with foil to protect it from the heat of the grill).
*Flageolet and monkfish cassoulet: Instead of the duck and sausages, use 400g monkfish fillets (black membrane removed), cut into 3cm chunks. Lightly brown the monkfish at step 1 for 2-3 minutes. Increase the lardons to 200g and use a 400g can of flageolet beans instead of the cannellini beans. Cook the cassoulet for 15 minutes, adding the monkfish for the last 5-7 minutes of cooking. Serve with lightly steamed Swiss chard or spinach. *Vegetarian cassoulet: Omit all the meats and use 3 smoked garlic cloves instead of fresh. Add 1 chopped fennel bulb and 1 peeled and chopped carrot to the onion at step 2, and use 2 cans each of the tomatoes and beans. For a more substantial dish, add a 200g pack smoked or marinated tofu, cubed, or a 300g pack Quorn pieces. Make the breadcrumb topping (see Cooking tip), adding 3 tbsp grated Parmesan or Italian-style hard cheese.