Chicken and Merguez Cassoulet
This dish is one of my favourite meals as it brings back some of my best childhood memories. Arriving home from school I could smell the amazing aroma of mum’s renowned cassoulet from outside the door! From the scent I knew dinner was going to be a treat.
She would either serve us this dish with a big bowl of cous cous or her amazing homemade tabouna (freshly baked Tunisian bread).
A fusion of Classic French and Tunisian cuisine this dish is wonderfully moorish with fresh spicy Tunisian lamb sausages (produced locally by a good family friend).
This dish is perfect for our Scottish weather.
1.5 cups (290g) lima beans
1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 chicken thigh cutlets (1.3kg), halved
6 merguez sausages (480g)
1 large Brown onion (200g) chopped coarsely
2 medium carrots (240g) diced into 1cm pieces
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp grated lemon rind
425g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
1 cup (250ml) water
2 cups (140g) fresh breadcrumbs
1. Place beans in a medium bowl, cover with cold water and stand overnight. Drain and rinse the beans under cold water then drain gain. Cook the beans in a large saucepan of boiling water uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain again.
2. Heat oil in large casserole dish and then cook the chicken in batches, in the same dish until browned all over. Cook the sausages in batches in the same dish until browned all over. Drain the meat on absorbent paper. Halve the sausages. Reserve 1 tbsp of fat from the dish and discard the remainder.
3. Preheat the oven to moderate.
4. Heat the fat in same dish. Add onions, carrots, garlic & thyme, stirring until the onion softens. Add tomato puree and cook for a further three minutes. stirring constantly. Return the chicken to the dish with the drained beans, rind, chopped tomatoes, stock and water. Bring to the boil, cover and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
5. Remove the lid and return to the oven for 1 hour, or until the liquid is almost absorbed and the beans are tender.
6. Preheat grill.
7. Sprinkle cassoulet with bread crumbs and brown slightly under the grill.
Serve with crusty bread or cous cous. Enjoy!