Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Cassoulet the Hairy Bikers way!

I am a bit of a Hairy Bikers fan, and was very pleased when the current series of "Hairy Dieters" started a few weeks ago. After a few too many croissants and pains au chocolat last week, I also have a few pounds to shift. DH and I loved the look of the sausage cassoulet in Episode 2, so today I gave it a go. The recipe is freely available here on the BBC website. 

Cassoulet is basically a casserole of sausages, gammon and chicken thighs. Like many people I try to shop frugally, but I also try to shop ethically, with the result that my shopping trolley has a bizarre mix of value supermarket goods alongside free range chicken, bacon, eggs and sausages! The recipe calls for sausages which are at least 85% meat, so I dutifully stood in the meat aisle reading sausage packaging. I was very surprised and quite shocked to  find that the standard supermarket sausages are less than 50% meat! I eventually found some which are 90% meat and Freedom Food certified. The chicken thighs were free range, but relatively cheap as they needed skinning and de-boning. It would be difficult to buy the small amount of gammon needed, but I had a larger joint in the freezer so saved a small amount of that when I roasted it.

It was a simple recipe to follow, even if it has a daunting list of ingredients. The lovely smell had us salivating all morning, and the result was very tasty. There was quite a lot of chilli in it, which suited me, but others might prefer it a little milder. I forgot the orange for the garnish but parsley by itself was fine.

The finished product!

It worked out at about £2 a portion, not including the store cupboard ingredients, which is more than I would normally spend on a meal, so it will be a special treat. I suspect it would be cheaper if you bought dried beans. I also bought small packets of fresh thyme and parsley, which I very rarely do. I grow mint, chives and rosemary but I have plans to plant more herbs next year which should make all my cookery cheaper.

I am looking forward to the rest of the series. I also love "The Great British Bake Off", but might have to resist those recipes for a while!


  1. Lovely recipe, this Hairy Bikers arrangement makes a very tasty casserole.

    Adding chillie flakes is a stroke of genius.

    Got some Sainsbury's Toulouse Sausages yesterday. Going to use dried beans (they are soaking as I post). Making a big pot to freeze several portions for later.


    1. Sounds great! I haven't tried the Toulouse Sausages. I will have to investigate!

  2. Mrs Observer and I have just made this and found it excellent - though we agree with you about the chilli. I think I'll use half that amount next time. And a little less water than they stated, as we had a lot of liquid (I suspect the tinned toms I used had more juice than theirs). Bull all round a real treat as you say. And although £2+ a portion might be a little more than usual, it's still brilliant value compared with even a shop-bought sandwich, let alone what something like this would cost in a bistro.


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