- 200g smoked bacon, rashers cut into pieces or 200g smoked lardons
- 2 onions, peeled and sliced thickly
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 (400g) cans butter beans, drained
- 4 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 100ml red wine, or 100ml vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried garlic granules or 1 ~ 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced finely
- 2 tomatoes, sliced thinly
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400°F. Lightly grease an ovenproof gratin dish with a little olive oil.
- Topping: Mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and garlic together. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Cassoulet: Fry the bacon pieces in a large frying pan until crisp. Take the bacon pieces out and add the chopped onions – fry them gently in the bacon fat until the onion is soft but not coloured. Add the fresh thyme leaves and mix through.
- Add the bacon to the onion and thyme mixture and then gently mix the butter beans through the mixture.
- In a large bowl, add the crème fraiche, tomato paste, wine and sugar ~ mix thoroughly. Season with pepper and a little salt, as the bacon is already quite salty.
- Add the bacon and butter bean mixture to the crème fraiche and wine sauce ~ mix gently.
- Transfer all the butter bean mixture to the greased gratin dish. Sprinkle the topping over evenly and place the sliced tomatoes on top in an attractive pattern.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cassoulet is bubbling and the topping is a golden brown.
- Serve immediately with a large bowl of salad and crusty bread, or, as an accompaniment for sausages, roast meat and poultry, casseroles, stews or grilled meat.