I had a quick dinner at Le Pain Quotidien on the King’s Road last week. I chose the Chicken Cassoulet, and found it rather uninspired.

So this weekend, I made my own version. It’s inspired by the Jamie Oliver “Essex cassoulet”, but perhaps a little easier. Enjoy.

Serves 3 – 4.


  • Chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks – around 500 grams
  • 3 decent sized  spicy sausages – Toulouse, or Merguez
  • Ham bits – off-cuts from the deli counter are perfect; around 200 gram
  • Garlic (4 cloves)
  • A nutmeg
  • Bay leaves (4 – 6)
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • a carrot
  • a leek
  • half a bunch of celery
  • a decent oil (rapeseed oil or olive oil)
  • a tin of tomatoes
  • a tin of white beans
  • a handful of lentils
  • a glass of robust red wine

Start by heating the oil to a decent level, and fry the (generously seasoned) chicken golden brown in a big, heavy pan. While the chicken’s frying, finely chop the garlic, leek, carrot and celery. Once the chicken is browned, add these to the pan. Leave to fry for a bit, then turn down the heat a little – we want the leek to turn transparent, but not burn.

In the mean time, chop the leaves of the thyme and rosemary, add to the pan, with 4 bay leaves. Grate in around half the nutmeg, with a generous helping of salt and pepper. Add the sausages and the ham.

Once the leek has taken a bit of colour, add the wine, tomatoes, lentils and beans. Add a small amount of water if the mix looks too dry.

Turn the heat down to a slow simmer, and cover the pan.

Leave to simmer for around 90 minutes. The chicken should fall off the bone; the broth should be rich and fragrant. Serve with brown bread.