Karen Wright: Ready Steady Cook style tasty cassoulet

Delicious sausage cassouletDelicious sausage cassoulet
Delicious sausage cassoulet
Our first stop once we arrived in France last week was in the Loire valley. When I was a teenager and my uncle had started take his caravan to France for holidays, I heard about the Loire valley for the first time.

Since then I have visited various parts of the area both for work and leisure. This time alas, our visit was brief but very lovely and we would have loved to linger longer.

We were staying on a campsite in Given, which we found in the Caravan and Motorhome Club European brochure. The site is on the banks of the Loire itself, in fact the site has a section of beach, that’s how close the majestic river is. The town is a stroll away, it takes about ten minutes and you pass over one of the many stone bridges that span the river to get there. The town is so pretty with the huge plane trees that line the main street and a small chateau perched on a hill, it is very typical example of a small French town.

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The campsite shop was absolutely wonderful. All the produce was local and it was a joy to behold. As I had already bought some sausages from a butcher in the town, I needed some ingredients to go with them to make that night’s dinner. I bought vine tomatoes, a carrot, mushrooms, a jar of cooked haricot beans and some red wine. I played a game of Ready Steady Cook using these items plus some bits I had in the motorhome and conjured up the most delicious cassoulet.

I browned the sausages in a pan and then added chopped onion, carrot and mushrooms and cooked those until they had softened a little. Then I added thyme, smoked paprika and a squeeze of tomato purée and mixed this around before adding a good splash of red wine and a chicken stock pot. When the liquid was bubbling, I added three thickly sliced tomatoes and the jar of beans. I cooked this until the tomatoes had broken down a little and then seasoned with salt and pepper. I served this with a lovely fresh baguette, it was so delicious I will definitely make this a regular dish, or as they say in France ‘plat du jour’.

All too soon it was time to pack up the motorhome again and set off on the next leg of our tour. Our destination was another river, this time the beautiful Dordogne!

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