‘This is a superb rustic dish that has been cooked in the south of France for generations. It is an ideal dish for a falling oven (an oven that starts hot and gradually becomes cooler), as the long, slow cooking time really develops the flavours inside, sealed as they are by the crunchy crust, and produces a succulent result. This kind of peasant dish comes from the era when family meals would be slowly cooked in the communal bread oven, to be collected at the end of the working day,’ say Holly and David Jones of Manna from Devon Cookery School.
1. Build up the fire in the oven until the temperature reaches 230°c. This will take about 60 minutes. When it is up to temperature, push the fire to the back of the oven with a metal peel or coal hook.
2. Put all of the meat into three roasting pans, in single layers, place in the oven and roast the meat for about 10 minutes, until browned. Take the roasting pans out of the oven and set aside. Chop each of the sausages into four pieces when cool enough to handle.
3. Let the oven temperature drop to 150°c.
4. Mix the beans with the tomato sauce (click here for the tomato sauce recipe), onions, garlic, white wine and thyme leaves and season well with salt and pepper.
5. Put one third of the bean mixture into the base of an ovenproof dish large enough to hold everything. Put half of the meat on top of the bean mixture; then repeat with half of the remaining beans, the rest of the meat and then finally the rest of the beans.
6. Pour the chicken stock into the ovenproof dish, and spread the breadcrumbs over the top. Dot the duck or goose fat over the breadcrumbs, along with any fat that came out of the meat when it was first cooked.
7. Put the dish back in the oven, close the door and bake for 2-3 hours, until the breadcrumbs have formed a crust and the beans have absorbed all the liquid.
8. If you find the cassoulet is drying out during the cooking time, before the beans are tender, pour in a little more chicken stock. Serve the cassoulet in bowls, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
Find more wood-fired oven recipes here.
From the Wood-fired Oven Cookbook by Holly and David Jones, published by Aquamarine (an imprint of Anness Publishing Ltd), priced £9.99.
ISBN-13: 9781903141946, ISBN-10: 1 903141 94 X