Chickpeas, like most pulses, are wonderfully good at soaking up flavour. For this recipe, either use dried chickpeas and soak them overnight and then cook them a little longer, or use them straight out of the tin.
350gdried chickpeas, soaked overnight, or 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1celery stick, diced
4garlic cloves, finely sliced
2fresh bay leaves
4–5sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
6ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
2tbspparsley leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to season
If using dried chickpeas that have been soaked, drain them and empty into a large, heavy-based saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Cook for an hour, topping up the water if necessary, until the chickpeas are tender but still retain a slight bite. Drain and set aside. (If using tinned chickpeas, skip this step and just add them in at Step 3.)
Heat the olive oil in the same pan and set about browning the sausages and bacon. Fry until the sausages are brown on all sides and the bacon is really crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onions, carrot and celery to the pan, with a touch more oil if necessary, and fry over a medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent the vegetables catching. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a minute or two.
Return the sausage and bacon to the pan, along with the bay leaves, thyme, tomato purée, tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir together. Season really well, top up with fresh water (about 450ml), cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. The beans will still be firm at this stage. (If using tinned chickpeas, add them now). Cover and cook for an hour. Check to make sure your cassoulet isn’t drying out – add some hot water if needed. Remove from the heat and serve, garnished with parsley.