A kind of British cassoulet - Recipes - Food + Drink - The Independent

A kind of British cassoulet

Serves 4-6

50g lard or 3tbsp vegetable oil
750g neck of pork fillet, cut into rough 3cm cubes
140-200g whole piece of streaky bacon, cut into 2cm chunks
1½tbsp flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp tomato purée
3-4 good-quality sausages, lightly grilled
200g dried carling peas (maple peas) soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
Salt
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
A few sprigs of thyme
2 ltrs beef or chicken stock

For the topping

30-40g fresh white breadcrumbs
20-30g pork crackling, crushed up

Drain and rinse the carling peas, place them in a saucepan with the salt, the bicarbonate of soda and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about an hour, or until they are tender, then drain.

Heat the lard or oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Season the pork neck with salt and pepper, lightly flour and fry quickly on a high heat until nicely coloured all over. Remove the pieces of pork and place on a plate. Fry the pieces of bacon on a high heat until coloured and transfer to the plate with the pork.

Add the onions, garlic and thyme to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until they soften, then transfer to a heavy-based saucepan. Add the rest of the flour and tomato purée and stir well, then gradually stir in or whisk in the beef stock. Add the drained peas, pork neck and bacon, season lightly and simmer for 40 minutes, skimming and reserving the fat in a pot. Add the sausages and continue simmering for another 15 minutes or so, or until the pork is tender and the sauce has thickened and coated the meats.

Mix the breadcrumbs, pork crackling and a little of the skimmed fat together, transfer the meats and sauce to an ovenproof dish, scatter the breadcrumb mixture on top and lightly brown under a medium grill or in a moderate oven.

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