Sarah Graham’s slow-cooked chicken and chorizo cassoulet with thyme and gruyère dumplings

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This one-pot wonder is a slow-cooked miracle, according to its creator, smitten author Sarah Graham. “You have the spicy robustness of the chorizo, the silkiness of the slow-cooked onions and then the good old dependable chicken sausages. Perfect happy-making weekend food.”

Serves: 4-6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour (mostly unattended)

Ingredients

  • For the cassoulet (French for casserole)
  • 10-12 chicken sausages
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh or (or 1 tsp dried) thyme
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 medium red onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 deseeded, chopped fresh chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • About 225g sliced chorizo
  • 400g can of cannellini beans
  • 300ml cider
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • For the thyme & gruyère dumplings
  • 100g (about 2/3 cup) self-raising flour
  • 50g soft butter
  • 1 cup grated gruyère (or parmesan or cheddar)
  • 2-3 Tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Season the chicken sausages with salt, pepper and the thyme. Heat an ovenproof pot on the stove and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter starts to foam, brown the chicken sausages for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
  2. Cut the onions into sixths and add them to the pot and fry for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a further 2 minutes. Then add the chorizo and fry for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the stove, add the chicken sausages back in on top of the onions and chorizo, pour in the drained cannellini beans and cider, put on the lid and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Mix the flour and butter in a mixer or food processor until the texture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and knead into a soft dough. If the dough is too wet, add in a little more flour – it should not stick to your hands excessively. Break off bits of dough and roll into palm-sized balls.
  5. After 40 minutes, remove the casserole from the oven and gently place the dumplings on top of the chicken mixture. Return the pot to the oven uncovered and bake for 6-10 minutes until the dumplings are puffy and golden. Sprinkle the fresh parsley over the top and serve on warmed plates.

Note: The whole dish can be made a few hours in advance and reheated under the grill just before serving.

Extracted from smitten by Sarah Graham (published by Struik Lifestyle) 

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