tomato and coconut white bean cassoulet

I’m really loving dishes with rich tomato sauces at the moment – Tunisian chicken and spicy chickpeas with ginger are two recent favourites. Obviously, given it’s winter and fresh tomatoes are fairly flavourless so I’m relying on tinned tomatoes, but that’s no difficulty now I've found good whole tomato and cherry tomato options.

This is another recipe from Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Eat and is one that I expect to make time and again, albeit in a tweaked format. The flavours are delicious and a nice mix of comforting and a little exotic - leeks, garlic, chilli and ginger are cooked until they sweeten, tomato and white beans are added with a little coconut milk and then baked topped with torn bread and cherry tomatoes. Basil leaves should have also been tucked into the dish but I forgot this step and while I know it will be a great addition, the dish was fine without them - although it might have looked a bit less lurid with a few flashes of green!

As for the tweaks, I think the proportions are off. for 4-6 people I think you need you need twice as many beans or, if you use the stated one tin (to feed 2-3) then you only need half the tomatoes. I just used one tin of cherry toms which gave ample juice and worked well in terms of having the whole tomatoes on the top. I also cheated with the topping, using a ciabatta roll which I tore into pieces and left out to go a bit stale, rather than sourdough bread.  

The recipe below is my version of the dish; the original can be found here.

tomato and coconut white bean cassoulet* serves 2

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 leek, washed, trimmed and sliced

1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

a 1cm thick piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

400g tin of cherry tomatoes

60ml coconut milk

400g tin or jar of cooked white beans, drained (haricot or butter beans would be my preference)

a bunch of fresh basil

1 ciabatta roll or equivalent amount of ciabatta/sourdough bread

heat the oven to 200°c.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan then add the leeks, garlic, chilli and ginger plus a pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook for c10 minutes over a low heat, until the leeks are soft and sweet. Add the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and beans and simmer for a couple of minutes, then take off the heat. check the seasoning, and add a little more salt and pepper if needed.

Arrange the mix in a shallow bowl, with the cherry tomatoes peeking out of the bean mix. tear the slices of bread into chunks and push them into the gaps between the tomatoesand tuck in the bails leaves. you are looking for a covering of tomatoes and chunks of bread.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have shrunk and sweetened and the bread is crisp and golden. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving - we ate this with a lettuce and avocado salad with a lemon dressing.

* based on an Anna Jones recipe