Student Suppers: Tomato & Coconut Cassoulet
I have been waiting to share this recipe with you all since the spring. Delicious, cozy, and vegan without actually trying to be (which is the only type of veganism I’ll accept!) I first made the Tomato & Coconut Cassoulet from Anna Jones’ essential primer on vegetarian cooking A Modern Way To Eat as the days started to get warmer, and while it was love at first bite, I figured it was the sort of thing we’d all want to start tucking into as the days got colder. I’ve made a few changes to suit the fact I always want way more coconut, to suit a kitchen without fancy pans and gadgets, and so that it happily serves two (though it heats up beautifully!)
If you’re like me and tomatoes are always things you buy every time you go grocery shopping, and you’re organised enough always to have tinned beans and tomatoes hanging about, as well as being that person who always has a loaf of sliced bread in the freezer ready to defrost by the slice this is basically a store cupboard dish. Your ingredient hero here is coconut milk powder. While you can open a can of coconut milk for this recipe, you’re only going to use 4 tbsp. If you live in France or another country where you can easily get mini cartons of coconut milk (not cream) designed for Pina Coladas brilliant, but otherwise you’ll have a hell of a lot of leftover milk to use/ freeze in ice cube trays for later use. I get mine from The Coconut Company (they sent me a couple of products to try last year, but I will absolutely be re-ordering when I run out!)
Not only do leftovers heat up beautifully, but this is also a great make-ahead dish. If you know you’re going to be getting home late in need of a nourishing meal, or you don’t know when the person you’re cooking for will be back. As I said, I’ve made this serve two, but it is easily scaled up to feed a crowd, and a green salad would be good on the side. The original recipe called for this to be made in an oven proof casserole dish so you don’t need to transfer the bean mixture to a different dish. If you own one do this as it will mean less washing up!
- 1 Leek, sliced into 1 cm disks
- 1/2 Red Chilli, finely chopped
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, finely chopped
- Thumb Sized Piece Fresh Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- Rapeseed Oil
- Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 x 400g (14 oz) Tin Cannellini Beans
- 1 x 400g (14 oz) Tin Chopped Tomatoes
- 4 tbsp Coconut Milk or 8 tbsp Coconut Milk Powder in 4 tbsp Boiling Water
- 2 Large Handfuls Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1-2 Slices Bread (by all means use up any leftovers here)
- Large Handful Fresh Basil
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390 fahrenheit). Add the leek, chilli, garlic and ginger to a large frying pan with a good glug of rapeseed oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Set the pan over a medium heat, and fry for about 10 minutes until the mixture is aromatic and the leeks have softened. Stir in the cannellini beans (drained and rinsed), the chopped tomatoes and the coconut milk. Stir until everything has combined, and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning, and transfer to a baking dish. Scatter over the cherry tomatoes, and tuck torn pieces of bread and half the basil leaves into the gaps. Drizzle with more rapeseed oil, and bake for 30 minutes until the cassoulet is bubbling the the bread has turned crisp and golden. Scatter over the remaining basil and serve.
A few more make-ahead meals for the cooler months: Slow Cooked Gin & Tomato Brisket (rather than serving it with veggies, just pile it into crusty rolls), A Simple & Delicious Bolognese Sauce (heat up the sauce while your pasta is cooking), Spicy Carrot Soup with Greek Yogurt & Coriander Lime Oil, and ‘Winter Cure’ Kale, Barley & Root Vegetable Soup (both of which heat up in the time it takes to warm up some bread for dunking).