08 July 2007

fresh cassoulet.

I have a crazy fondness for British food magazines. I can't explain it. I read as many as I can get my hands on... or at least, as many as my bank account will allow. I just bought the July issues of Olive, fresh, and BBC Goodfood, having gotten Waitrose Food Illustrated when it arrived at the magazine store a week ago... I love reading these magazines, and when we are planning our weeks meals, I often grab a few and flip through them for ideas.

This month's issues have some amazing recipes that will get tried in the next few days... but for today, we went with "Allegra McEvedy's Free-Range Chicken, Fairtrade Lemon & Courgette Cassoulet" from the July issues of 'fresh'. This was fantastic! It's not thick like a traditional cassoulet, but it's really light and fresh tasting for summer.

The main ingredients, as the name suggests, are lemons, chicken and zucchini. There are beans, there is a sprinkling of parmesano reggiano, and there is the singing of our hearts as we are this delicious lemony bowl of goodness.

The recipe is really easy. You basically marinate the chicken for some time. The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but I really don't like them, so we went for chicken breast instead. The marinade is lemon juice, garlic and thyme. You then fry the meat, add some white wine, let it reduce, then add cooked or canned beans, lemon juice, thyme, zucchini and chicken broth. You then bang it in the oven for 35 minutes. It was really such a lovely meal, I wish we had gotten a nice bread at the market this morning, but that's okay, we enjoyed it all the same.

The recipe:

450g Chicken thighs, cut into 2.5cm dice
2-3 lemons, zested and juiced
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
60ml Olive Oil
10g chopped thyme
300g cooked cannellini beans
500ml good chicken stock
1/2 glass of white wine
2-3 courgettes depending on size, sliced lengthways and then into half-moons
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
parmesan, to serve

1. Marinate the chicken pieces in the juice of one of the lemons, the garlic and 3/4 of the olive oil and half the thyme. Leave for a few hours or overnight.
2. When the beans are cooked and drained, and the stock is ready, pre-heat the oven t0 200 degrees C.
3. In a heavy based oven proof pan, heat the oil and fry the chicken. After about 5 minutes, pour in wine, reduce by half.
4. Stir in lemon zest, remaining juice, thyme, beans and courgette slices.
5. Pour on heated stock (I didn't heat mine) and bay leaves, until covered and season.
6. Put on the lid and bake for 35 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving and add parmesan to top.


Here's a pic of it straight from the oven...

Really fulfilling and summery. It's rewarding to make something new and delicious. It's rustic, as all cassoulet should be, but it's well worth the minimal effort!

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