Irish twist on a French classic


HEARTY FARE Irish sausages make a fabulous French cassoulet.

The Cabots

For business reasons, I travelled recently to Paris France with the aim of observing how was the food market was there. Ok there was a Six Nations rugby game on.
Here in Ireland, our family business sells pots of fresh foods to shops as well as customers, and I was encouraged to see these food sections greatly increasing in size and prominence among the Parisian shops.
It was apparent there is an ever-growing interest in natural and organic foods, obviously vegan products, as well as a whole array of flavours and types in the hummus market. The future looks bright for our business sector. And sure someone may beat the French in rugby and we will still win the six nations.

Food standards
Like elsewhere on the continent, the basic standard of foods was impressive. Markets were full of fresh, natural produce, and even the basic foods served in eating establishments achieved an admirable standard of quality. Everywhere we ate, whether entry level to medium standard, we found excellent. Each meal had a basic understanding of what each food combination wanted to achieve. Moule frittes (mussels with chips), bouef bourguignon  (beef stew), coq au vin (chicken in wine), and cassoulet (beans stew with meats) were all served up with the due care and attention worthy of any product that customers are charged money to enjoy.

French cassoulet, Irish style
French food and cuisine relies on simple combinations of rich, natural flavours that come together to create dishes of taste, balance, and integrity. Returning home, I was inspired to recreate a delicious cassoulet we had tried.
A cassoulet is a farmers’ meal, a simple comfort dish from of white beans stewed slowly with meat from southern France, perfect for the last of winter eating. The name cassoulet comes from the pot it is cooked in, normally big and heavy, for slow cooking. Instead of, say, pork or duck, as is used in France, a cassoulet can be adapted to use our fabulous Irish sausages. Find the best you can at the butcher counter.

What you need

  • 12 Irish sausages
  • 200g chopped Irish bacon pieces
  • 400g can butter beans and haricot beans each (drained and rinsed)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml white wine
  • 200ml chicken or veg stock at half strength
  • 2 white onions finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 celery sticks finely chopped, dash of veg oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ bunch fresh chopped thyme leaves

What you do
Using your heavy pot, fry the sausages in oil over a hot heat, until they are well browned, remove to a plate. Add the bacon pieces, onion and celery and cook over lower heat for about eight minutes, then stir in the garlic, paprika and thyme, and stir cook for two minutes.
Now pour in the wine and simmer to reduce by 30 percent in volume, for five to eight minutes. Add in the stock, both beans and the chopped tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Stir and bring to boil. Add the sausages and slow cook over low heat for another 45-60 minutes.
Serve with rice, potatoes or crusty breads.

— Redmond

The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.