San Sebastian, my Home Town , is very near the French border.
Whilst growing up , it was very usual to cross countries to do the weekly shopping. French came to Spain and we went to France for as long as I can remember. It was exciting as there were boundaries that made sure that you did not find the same in both sides of the border. Food was different,fashion was different, Zara had not gone global and each side enjoyed exploring the other one.
The south west of France or French Basque Country, is famous for many things and food is an important one. The influences of the nearby areas reshape recipes and inspires visitors.
This dish is inspired by the French cassoulet. A one pot bean stew which recipe changes as you travel across the south of France. I would never claim it to be one, as those generally have duck instead of pork, and are dryer, but my version started after a cooking program discussing cassoulet.
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Quantity: This mix makes 6 portions
1. Chipolatta style sausages are , in my opinion, best. They cook quite quickly, taste delicious and don’t have too much fat.
2. For the chopped tomatoes , as usual, choose a good quality brand.
3. The beans I like using are cannellini beans. I have tried other types but these have a lovely texture. Not to floury inside and the skin is not too hard either.
4. I always use a cast iron pan and not too much heat as beans are delicate, burn easily and stick to the bottom of the pan.
1 large onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves sliced
200 gr of bacon cubes
400 gr of sausages
800 gr of chopped tomatoes
2 table spoons of red wine
600 gr beans
200gr of fresh spinach, washed
Fry the sliced onion and garlic on 3 spoon full of oil until soft.
Add the bacon cubes and cook until any fat melts. Add the sausages and brown them.
Add the tomatoes and cook, medium heat, for 10 minutes. Add the wine, salt and pepper. Cook for further 5 minutes.
Add the beans and cook on slow heat for 20 minutes. Keep on stirring, regularly, with a wooden spoon to avoid dramas.
Add the spinach and cook for further 5 minutes.
It is ready to serve.
Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
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