Although there are numerous versions of cassoulet, most are based on a stew of white cannellini beans and various forms of pork. The dish gets its name from the pot it’s traditionally baked in, the cassole, which is often shaped like a wide inverted cone to insure the greatest amount of crispy crust. This version of the cassoulet (I found it on Australia’s Taste website) includes pork and Italian sausages as well as tomatoes. You never see tomatoes in a traditional cassoulet, but even chef Raymond Blanc likes them for their colour and sweetness.
It’s easy to make and perfect for the last few winter nights.
Pork and sausage cassoulet
(Recipe: Taste – Australia)
120 ml olive oil
1 kg pork shoulder, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
450 g Italian sausages
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
800 g canned tomatoes
250 ml chicken stock
2 dried bay leaves
450 g loaf ciabatta, crusts removed, cut into 1cm cubes
1 tablespoon sage leaves, finely shredded
400 g can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
Preheat oven to 160 °C . Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Cook pork, in batches, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Add sausages to dish. Cook, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate. Thickly slice sausages and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons of the remaining oil in dish. Add onion, fennel and carrot. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until garlic is fragrant. Return pork and sausage to dish with tomato, chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Transfer to oven and bake, covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until pork is tender. Increase oven temperature to 200°C. Combine bread, sage and remaining oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans to cassoulet. Stir to combine. Scatter bread mixture over top of cassoulet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden and crisp.
I made Jamie Oliver’s delicious and comforting Hungarian pork steaks on Expresso this morning. It’s healthy, fast and easy to prepare. The flavour is rich and smokey and tick all my boxes for a winter warmer.
Hungarian Pork Steaks (Recipe: Jamie Oliver) Sauce:
2 mixed-colour peppers
1 red onion
1 bulb of fennel
1 eating apple
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika, plus extra to serve
4–5 fresh bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
700 g passata Pork
500g pork fillet
1 tsp ground coriander To serve
cooked basmati rice
4 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt
Deseed the peppers, peel and halve the onion, trim the carrot, trim and quarter the fennel (reserving any leafy tops), then slice them all in the processor with the apple. Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the casserole pan, tip in the sliced veg, Add the paprika and bay leaves, squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher, season with salt and pepper, and fry, stirring regularly.
Slice the pork into 8 medallions, flatten them slightly with your fist, then rub with salt, pepper, the ground coriander and 1 teaspoon of oil, then put on the griddle pan until cooked through, turning when nicely charred.
Add the balsamic and passata to the peppers, season to taste and bring to the boil. Sprinkle the rice with an extra dusting of paprika. Dress the rocket in the bag with the lemon juice and a small pinch of salt, then fold most of it through the sauce. Tip the sauce on to a platter, Place the charred pork on top and scatter with the remaining rocket. Drizzle with the yoghurt, scatter over any reserved fennel tops and serve with the fluffy rice.
Pork is such an economical yet extremely tasty cut of meat. I bought 5 fillets at the deli in Joostenberg the other day for R60. It was those thick cuts with the minimal fat on. This is one of Rick’s favourite dishes and this is comfort food at its best. Enjoy.
Apples - Heat oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the apples, cumin, cinnamon and salt and cook for 4 minutes. Add the honey and cook for a further 4 minutes - stirring occasionally. Once tender, remove from pan.
Pork fillet - Season your pork fillets with salt and pepper and place these into the same pan in which you have cooked the apples. Fry for 4 minutes on each side. It depends on the thickness of the pork, so test the pork before serving to make sure that it is cooked through.
Crushed potatoes - Boil potatoes till cooked and drain. Add the salt, mustard, butter and milk. Mix with a fork and crush the potatoes with fork.
We all love pork sausages – it’s one of my husband’s ultimate favourite things to eat. The frustrating thing about pork sausages is that although they have this thick casing around them, they generally burst open … furthermore all the juicy flavours and brownness from the pan stays on the skin. For those that are like me … we generally tend to rip the skin off and set it to one side – and there goes the flavour with the skin! Well I have now worked out how to perfectly fry a sausage without it breaking or bursting or skin and with loads of flavour – I want to share this with you today … it will change your entire outlook on pork bangers!
1. Firstly add the sausages to a pan with a little water – about a cup of water for 6 sausages – put the lid on the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Then put the sausages into cold water and take the casings off.
3. Now put some butter and olive oil in a pan, add the sausages and fry till golden brown – perfect!
I decided to serve these porkies with lovely mushrooms, thyme and lemon. The lemon cuts through the richness and its perfect just with a piece of bread on the side. Enjoy!
400g Mushrooms sliced – I love a variety of different mushrooms
1T Olive oil
Handful of fresh thyme
Cooking the sausages - Add the sausages to a pan with water – put the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes. Then put into cold water to cool it down - remove the casings. Now put the butter and olive oil in a pan, add the sausages and fry till golden brown and perfect!
Cooking the mushrooms - Add half the butter, oil, mushrooms and thyme in a very hot pan. Season with the salt and pepper and fry till golden brown. Do the same with the next batch. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mushrooms when done.
To serve - Put the mushrooms in a serving dish and add the sausages – serve with some fresh bread.
Sometimes life just stumps you. Such was the case when these absolutely, incredibly, beautiful and delicate garlic scapes found their way into my kitchen and onto my plate. A friend of mine, Daleen gave me a bunch of these green little wonders and said that I needed to cook something with it. But there I was, utterly stumped. What was I going to do with these culinary flowers? They belonged in a pretty flower vase on the window sill surely? At first I thought the little buds on these slender green shoots were “onion flowers” and then with a wicked smile, Daleen informed me that they were actually garlic scapes or garlic flowers. I had never seen these little miracles before …Clearly, I need to get out more… Anyway, these flowers were just so fragile and perfect – long leafless stems with the little closed flowers on the top – and inside the flowers were the seeds of the garlic plant. It was another wonder of creation.
But how and what could I do with these edible creations? As always my weekly food journey starts with the world’s greatest encyclopedia, the internet. I read that the flower of the garlic plant is sometimes eaten and that it has a much milder flavour than the actual garlic bulbs. I read further that these seeds were mostly consumed while immature and still tender. This seemed to make some sense as the bottom part of the stem was rock hard. These stalks will be great in soups and stews.
I don’t know why but my mind took me to Asia when I saw them … a dish of greens and pork. That is what I eventually decided to do…. My secret for this recipe was to keep everything simple. The idea was to let the subtle garlic scapes infuse with lemon and then just let this flavour the greens and the pork. The delicate simplicity of the flavours makes this a genuinely blissful, if not whimsical combination. Garlic scapes are available in stores at the moments – so please try it – it’s both fun and delicious.
Crispy braaied pig tails – I know that there are many adventurous and fearless chefs out there… this one is for you!
This dish is certainly not for the dainty, squeamish or occasional outdoor chef that thinks a chop and a lettuce leaf constitutes a real South African barbeque … sorry … I meant braai! 🙂
Potjie’s entry a few weeks ago where he talked about English Chef, Fergus Henderson’s book, “The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating”, struck a chord with me and I think we share the same philosophies when it comes to cooking. Be brave, be daring and never be scared to cook with what you have…whatever you have… It also reminded me that I had about 10 pig tails lying in my freezer. I had bought these a while back from Frankie Fenner after I had seen them being cooked on Masterchef. Back then they looked very scary and they still do – very kind of Avatar-ish!
So with National Braai Day being celebrated in the coming days it provided a perfect opportunity to haul these little, curly porky tails over the coals.
The most important thing for me was to make sure that the tails came out soft but still retained that beautiful pork flavour – oh yes, that they had that crispy crackling to feast on. To soften up the tails I steamed them for 15 minutes then braaied them on the grid over medium coals (charcoal or wood). Keeping it simple, I served it up with my own homemade mustard dipping sauce. It was decadent and delicious – as Jan Spies used to say “ryk, maar lekker” [rich but delicious].
Some advice: If you do come across a few people who are still a little squeamish about eating the pig tails … pass them the salad.
Place all the ingredients in a pot (pressure cooker) and steam for 15 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker cover the same ingredients in a roasting pan – cover with foil and bake at 190 degrees for 40 minutes till soft. Please remember to top up your roasting pan with water.
Take the tails and place them on the grid over medium coals on the braai. Sprinkle with salt, pepper (coarse salt and pepper would be good) and ground coriander. Braai till the skin is crispy and crackly. About 5 miutes a side.
Mustard Sauce : Mix all ingredients and serve in a small bowl next to the crispy tails.
Porks sausages + bacon + beer + vegetables – my version of the Irish coddle is one of Rick’s favourite dishes. I am married to a man of Irish descent and what I have learned from our family visits to Ireland – and my husband is that the Irish love beer (Guinness only when in the Emerald Isle) + whiskey + eating potatoes + pork sausages + salmon + they only start a party at 9pm and even if you are around the ripe age of 75 there is still nothing wrong with partying till 4am and passing out on the couch at you friends house if you had too much to drink!! I just love the Irish, it is their spirit, their joviality and perhaps the fact that they are never shy to drink more than me.
For this recipe I have added a few herbs, mustard seeds and some beer and then also added some lemon. I think it’s a bit of modern Coddle and it’s hearty and just perfect in the dead of winter. It is so easy to prepare …everything is in one bowl, meat, veggies etc. So between my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law I think we have come up with a rather decent local version of the Irish coddle! Sleinte!