Dean Cambray

This is the famous dish from southern France and there are endless different versions, depending on which village or even which family you ask. The constants, though, are white beans, pork and duck or goose, cooked to a rich and filling stew. Some people throw their hands up in horror at the inclusion of tomatoes; others are dismayed by a breadcrumb topping – I love both!


Quantity Ingredient
500g dried white haricot beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 onion, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 leek, sliced
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
1 litre chicken stock
1 cup white wine
6 thick-cut rashers smoky bacon or gammon, cut into chunks
6 toulouse sausages (or another thick, rustic, pure-meat sausage), cut into chunks
4 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
4 Confit duck leg, halved
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 carrot, sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Drain the beans and put them in a large casserole dish or a deep earthenware pot. Add just enough cold water to cover the beans and bring to the boil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, leek, garlic and herbs, then stir in the stock and the wine. Return to the boil, skimming away any impurities that rise to the surface.
  3. Add the bacon and sausages to the casserole, tucking them in among the beans. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour, then add the tomatoes and the pieces of confit duck. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Scatter the breadcrumbs over the surface and return to the oven, uncovered. Cook for a further 30 minutes, until the breadcrumbs have formed a golden brown crust. Sprinkle with parsley as you serve.
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