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Full of beans: try our recipe for Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a classic French dish which has many regional variations but they all make a wholesome meal on a cold winter's day


Cooking time

3 1/2 hours




  • 450g (1 lb) dried haricot or cannelloni beans
  • 4 onions - peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves - peeled and crushed
  • 2 carrots - peeled and chopped
  • 225 g (8 oz) streaky bacon - rind removed and chopped
  • 2 bouquets garnis
  • 450 g (1 lb) lean shoulder of lamb
  • 450 g (1 lb) loin of pork
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 395 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 6 cloves
  • 100 g (4 oz) soft white breadcrumbs


Cassoulet takes a while to cook but is worth it, as the flavours develop during the long cooking process. It can be frozen for up to a month so you could make a lot and save some for another day.

Place the dried beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan with 1.5 litres cold water. Add about one quarter of the onions, about one third of the garlic, all the carrots, bacon, garlic and one bouquet garni.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for one hour 30 minutes.

Remove the bouquet garni and drain.

Cut the lamb and pork into 2.5 cm (1 inch) pieces.

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the remaining onion and garlic and fry until golden. Stir in the chopped meat, season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry until the meat is brown all over.

Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, remaining bouquet garni, cloves and 300 ml (half pint) boiling water to the pan.

Bring the lot to the boil, cover and gently simmer for one hour then remove the bouquet garni.

In a 3.5 litre (6 pint) casserole dish arrange the meat and bean mixture in alternate layers finishing with beans. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top.

Bake at 170 C (325 F) (gas 3) for about one hour or until the top is golden brown and crusty.

Serve with chunks of brown bread and fresh green vegetables in season.

Nutritional Values 

Kcals 733 if serving 6 portions, 550 if serving 8 portions

Fat 46g if serving 6 portions, 34g if serving 8 portions

Cooking Tip 


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.