Butter Bean and Cider Cassoulet, 35p [VG/V/DF/GF]

This soft, creamy cassoulet is a can of beans at its finest; simmered until gently collapsing, bolstered by rich, slow-cooked flavour. In a nod to the traditional French version, I have added a smattering of paprika in place of the traditional bacon pieces for a similar smoky flavour. Leftovers can be frozen, and it makes a tremendous pie filling.

Serves 4-6 from 35p each

1 whole head of garlic, 15p (30p/2 bulbs, Sainsburys Basics)

2 large onions, 18p (90p/1.5kg, Sainsburys Basics)

4 large carrots, 18p (45p/1kg, Sainsburys Basics)

1 tbsp oil, 1p (£3/3l vegetable or sunflower oil)

a generous pinch of dried thyme, <1p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC brand)

400g tin of cannelini or haricot or borlotti beans (baked beans with the sauce thoroughly rinsed off work just as well), 55p

400g tin of butter beans, 55p

 200ml cider, 22p (Sainsburys Basics, £2.25/2l)

1.2l vegetable stock, 4p (35p/10 cubes, Sainsburys Basics)

a few pinches black pepper, <1p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC brand)

1/2 tsp paprika, <1p (80p/100g, Natco or KTC brand)

1 tbsp light coloured vinegar or lemon juice, 3p (55p/250ml)

1 large tomato (optional), 13p (79p/6, Sainsburys Basics)

1 tsp English mustard, 1p (45p/180g, Sainsburys Basics)
First locate a large, wide pan – usually known as a saute pan, but any pan will do. Peel and finely chop your garlic, and peel and slice your onion, and toss them into the pan. Add the oil and bring to a low heat, just to knock the raw, ascerbic edge from your alliums. Cook for a couple of minutes, then slice your carrots and add those too, along with the thyme. Give it all a stir and leave it on the heat.

Drain and rinse both cans of beans, and tip them into the pan, followed shortly by the cider, pepper and paprika. If you prefer and you have it kicking about the house, you can use white wine. Bring the heat up to medium-high, and add a third of the stock. Allow it to come to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes, adding more stock as necessary to prevent it from drying out as the beans will thicken the sauce.

After 40 minutes, finely chop the tomato and add to the pan along with the mustard and vinegar. Cook on a simmer for another 40 minutes, adding stock as required. Aware that this is a budget cooking blog, so I am at pains to point out that cooking on the hob is generally the least expensive way to cook (apart from a slow cooker, in which this recipe would work just fine with half the stock) – so you are more likely to be able to take liberties with long cooking times on the hob than you would in the oven.

Remove from the heat completely for a further 40 minutes and cover with a lid or tin foil, or a large plate. It will continue to gently cook in its own retained heat and save you some money in the process.

Heat through and stir well to serve – preferably with some bread and a pile of greens.

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  1. Hello – Question: What can I substitute for butter beans? (my husband is not a fan of butter beans) Thank you for your wonderful blog, Jack! Hope all is well with you and SB.

  2. I’ll be trying this one shortly! As my copy of your new book arrived this morning, I don’t know where to start!! The book is amazing and thank you, thank you, thank you Jack for persevering through all adversity to get it to us. It was well worth the wait!!

  3. This looks utterly delicious. Do you have any recommendations for how long to cook it in a slow cooker? I acquired mine very recently and I’m still figuring out how to adapt recipes.

  4. Made this in my slow cooker for tonights dinner and it’s delicious. I sauteed the veg first, added the other ingredients and heated right through then transferred to the slow cooker on high for 2 hours then low for another 3 hours. I only used 250ml of veg stock plus the cider and it was just the right consistency. Served it with rice and salad. Yummy.

  5. @Jack – Not related to this recipe. If you ever need a GREAT laugh during a stressful time in your life, check out the blog, “cakewrecks.com”. I promise, you will laugh until you cry. Sometimes the comments are funnier than the cakes… Take care.

  6. I’ve done a bit of googling but as Amazon says the most recent book is yet to be published, it’s hard to find an answer, so I’ll ask you directly: do you think Cooking On A Bootstrap is worth buying if you’re vegan? The blurb mentions sardines, and sadly I’ll struggle to justify the expense if I can’t make the recipes adaptable or usable. I love this blog, I love your work, I love you for helping me support myself whilst trying to avoid animal products. I want to give back somehow, if I can. Thank you.

    • Some of it was written pre veganism so it does have a couple of non vegan recipes in but it is mostly vegan and anything that isnt is easy to veganise 🙂

  7. Another great recipe. A whole head of garlic? I’ve never used it with such abandon. How aggressively garlicky is the finished product?

  8. If one were to use canned carrots (because they’re in the cupboard) each about 160g drained, how many would you recommend?

  9. Dear Jack,
    Do you have any nutty recipes for one or two people? I cannot resist Lidl’s packs of various nuts, then forget about them! Nut roast is so old hat. Any other ideas? Have your two books and have ordered the third. Love, Sue

  10. OMG Jack I made this for myself & a friend as we’ve both gone vegan for Feb; it was glorious! You are a bit of a genius, do you know that? ? Gonna make your Lentil etc pie tomoz, VERY much looking forward😋😋Thank you thank you 👍🏼

  11. This looks great Jack. Thank you so much for your recipes. They have changed the way I think about food.

    Do you have a nutritional breakdown for this recipe? I’m watching the calories right now 🙂

  12. Made this last night and took it into work for lunch today. Epic. I garnished it with some chopped, stickered sundried tomatoes. Really worked very nicely indeed. Reheats well.
    Loving the book.

  13. I made this yesterday in my slow cooker and it was fab! As per one of the other comments, I sauteed the veg first, and then added everything else (cider, beans, just 300ml stock etc), heated it all through, and put it in the slow cooker for 2 hours on high and then 3 hours on low. When those 5 hours were up it was still quite liquid though, so I scooped out about a cup and a half of the liquid. I then melted 3 tbsp of butter and whisked it up with about 1/4 cup of flour to make a roux, then tipped in the leftover liquid. Once it was smooth and thick, I tipped it all into the slow cooker, mixed it through, and left it for another 20 minutes. Came out perfectly 🙂

  14. Making it right now! It smells deliciously garlicky! n.b. the photo shows two bayleaves in the pan, but the recipe doesn’t – am going to bung in a couple anyway.

  15. I’m cooking this now for dinner tonight lunch today was spinach lentil and lemon soup that was amazing I can’t wait to try this one

  16. Can you use white wine vinegar for the light vinegar? Sorry if it’s a stupid question! But I’ve got some in the cupboard xx

  17. Made this casserole the other day and just had to tell you how good it was. I used some white wine along with the broth and cider.

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