Beef Cassoulet – rich, satisfying and good for your heart

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This hearty dish of slow-cooked beef with cannellini beans and creamy sweet potato mash is the perfect comfort food. The cut of meat determines the cooking time – fillets cook faster than rump or shoulder cuts.

Cooking time: 2.5 hours

Serves: 6


  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g beef rump, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) red wine
  • 1 small red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, deseeded and diced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds or celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 x 400g tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250ml) puréed tomato
  • 4 cups (1L) boiling water, plus extra, if needed
  • 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained

Sweet Potato Mash:

  • 1kg white sweet potato, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat some olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and sauté the onion until softened and translucent. Add the beef and sear on all sides. Pour in the wine and simmer until the alcohol has mostly evaporated, then add the chilli, garlic, capsicum, fennel, celery and herbs. Sauté for 5–10 minutes, then add the tinned and puréed tomatoes and 2 cups (500ml) of boiling water.

Simmer the cassoulet on a low heat for 2 hours, then remove a piece of meat from the dish and check it. If it’s still tough, add a little more boiling water and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C and spread the sweet potato and garlic cloves on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 20 minutes until soft, then transfer the sweet potato to a large bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the bowl, discarding the skins. Roughly mash, then drizzle with the olive oil and season well with the thyme, salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Add the cannellini beans to the casserole and another 2 cups (500 ml) of boiling water, and simmer for another 15 minutes, checking that the dish has enough water.

Serve the cassoulet with the sweet potato mash or creamy polenta

Recipe from The Heart Health Guide, by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, published by Macmillan and available at all good bookshops. RRP $34.99.

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