Remind me why I live in this country again? Today is the most miserable day ever, and no-one in the country seems to have escaped the incessant rain. The UK must have some redeeming features, since people from abroad always seem to want to visit... but I have no idea what they are.
Oh well. Have a big hot bowl of cassoulet.
Cassoulet is a French casserole that's usually made with white beans and pork sausages. However, vegetarians typically don't enjoy eating pork, so here's a vegetarian version instead.
Disclaimer: This is in no way a 'traditional' cassoulet. It's very much the quick, lazy version. I only call it a cassoulet because it sounds ever so slightly more exciting than a plain old casserole.
This casserole / soup / stew / whatever the heck you want to call it was soooo good with these cheesy gruyère croutons on top. I liked sitting them on top so they soaked up all the soup and went deliciously soggy, but if you're not into that then you can have them at the side. Gruyère is pretty expensive (I decided to splash out) but if you want a more frugal version, any hard cheese that melts nicely will work.
Vegetarian leek cassoulet with gruyère croutons
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 large leek, halved lengthwise then sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2cm dice
1 medium potato, cut into 1cm dice
1 veggie stock cube
1tsp dried parsley or dried thyme
1 tin cannellini beans, drained (240g when drained)
4 slices baguette
60g gruyère cheese, grated
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic, leek and carrot over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the potatoes and dried herbs, crumble over the stock cube, and pour over enough boiling water to cover comfortably. Cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
Add the drained tin of beans, and season to taste with black pepper. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, scatter a little grated gruyère over each slice of bread, and place under the grill (broiler) for several minutes, until the cheese has melted and the edges are crispy. Serve the croutons on top of the cassoulet, or at the side if you prefer.