|The autumn leaves soon to be just a memory|
This is a dish from the south west of france where it is a way of life and there are probably as many recipes for it as there are cooks cooking it. In fact every time I make it, it is a little different, changes made based on meats, sausages and beans available. So I will write up how I cooked it this time with some suggestions for other variations.
These quantities served 8 of us and there was enough for lunch for one left over.
2 cups of white beans ( I had 1 cup of navy beans and 1 cup of small lima beans)
8 chicken pieces (I used thighs) traditionally you would have duck legs as well
1/2 leg of lamb cut into cubes
6 sausages cut into chunks
1 onion chopped
3 large roma tomatoes chopped
1 cup of chicken stock
several sprigs of fresh thyme
3/4 cup of fresh breadcrumbs.
Soak the beans in boiling water for about 1 hour to plump them up.
Brown the chicken in a non stick frying pan. Put the chicken skin side down and the fat will be released and therefore there is no need to add any oil.
Take the lamb out and place in the casserole dish with the chicken. Now do the same with the sausages.
Add the onion and cook until softened then add the tomatoes and stir in and add the chicken stock.
tuck in some fresh thyme sprigs and add enough chicken stock to almost cover the meat and beans. Put on a lid and put in a 350 oven for about two hours. Check once in a while and add more stock if it looks too dry
At the end of two hours the beans should be soft and most of the stock soaked up. Top the casserole with the fresh breadcrumbs.
Then put back in the oven with out a lid until a crust is formed on top about 15 minutes.
Serve directly from the casserole
You can use almost any kind of sausage, though toulouse sausages (a mild pork sausage from france) are traditional. Italian sausages go well in this as do a good meaty chicken sausage.
Almost any meat will go in this dish, but lamb really adds a good flavour, and pork goes really well and you could also use game if that was handy.