Spicy tomato and coconut cassoulet pie

This was inspired by an Anna Jones recipe. In A Modern Way to Eat she has a tomato and coconut cassoulet which she tops with sourdough bread. The recipe is for 4 and as often happens, it went awry when I tried to create it for one. I got the proportions wrong and ended up with a pan of intensely flavoured stodge that after a couple of mouthfuls I couldn’t eat. Not like me. (The image above is of the original attempt rather than this recipe which I completely forgot to photograph.)

So I adapted it to balance out the flavours and lighten the dish a bit more to my taste, adding a bit of green along the way, and have ended up with a sort of vegetarian cottage pie. You could really do whatever you want with this – you can add more veg, or alter the spices and flavours to your taste. You could make the sauce more Italian for example by dialing down the chili and ginger and adding basil and/or oregano, and cheese on top. Or you could make it a lot more spicy by adding more chili and ginger or lose the coconut – the proportions below produce a dish that is gently warm, slightly creamy with a hint of sweetness.

What to use – serves 2

Olive oil

4 small, or 2 large leeks, washed and chopped

ginger – a heaped table spoon chopped

garlic – 2 cloves thinly sliced

chilli – to taste really but I used a third of a red chilli, deseeded

400g tin of organic chopped tomatoes

a jar of haricot beans – 400g – drained

about 100ml of coconut cream

a teaspoon tomato puree

a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce

salt and pepper to taste

skin-on mashed potato – enough to cover the top of the pan as if you were making a cottage pie – I used three medium potatoes

How to use it

Put the olive oil in a cast iron pan – one that you can subsequently put in the oven. Add the leeks, ginger, garlic, chili and a sprinkle of salt and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until the leeks are soft and sweet.

Add the can of tomatoes, coconut cream, tomato puree and chili sauce. Bring to a bubble. Taste. Remember to blow first. Too late? Ah.

How does it taste? Add a bit more of whatever you like to take it to the flavour you want… more chili, a squeeze of lemon maybe? Try to avoid more salt if you can – it’s not good for the old ticker.

Add the drained haricot beans to the pan and stir. Top with your skin-on mash.

Put it in the oven – 180 fan oven – for approx. 30 mins until the potato is brown and crisp on top and the beans are bubbling.

Scoop into a bowl and either eat on its own or perhaps with a citrusy green salad as Ms Jones recommends. If you do this without the potato topping, you can eat with a chunk of sourdough bread.


Mmm rating: mm mm mm

Cost per person: £3

Calories: circa 500

What to listen to: dance around your kitchen to Ne-Yo Time of Our Lives

What to watch: An episode of Miami Vice – it’s not nearly as cheesy as you might remember. Maybe.

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