French white bean stew

These are guidelines more than a recipe, really. Adjust the spices / herbs as preferred, swap the red wine for tomato paste, swap the saucisson sec for mushrooms, etc.

Preheat the oven to 175C (350F). Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium, then add about 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil. Fry about ½ of a diced saucisson sec (casing removed) for about 3 minutes, then add 1 sliced onion and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Next, add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 8 crushed peppercorns, 2 T dried sage, 1 T fennel seed, 1 bay leaf, ½ T dried thyme, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of ground cloves, and ½ T sea salt, then cook gently for about a minute. Add 1 stock cube, 500 g dried white beans, a glug of red wine, and 1 L water, then turn up the heat slightly. Once the stew is simmering, give it a good stir, take it off the stove and place it in the oven to continue cooking.

It will take a few hours, probably around 3–4 depending on the age of the beans. Check it every hour or so, giving it a good stir. When the beans seem like they’re nearly done, taste and adjust the flavours as needed. It might need some lemon juice, salt, a little more wine, or even a bit of sugar.

When done, stir in some rocket (arugula) or something similar if you want some green, then serve with crusty bread.