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Slow cooker sausage and bean cassoulet

There’s something so pleasing about a slow cooker. Getting the kids home from school and having dinner already done is, like, bossing it as a Mum in the hugest sense. Yes, smug mum potential is high with the slow cooker. But a slow cooker isn’t a magic cauldron. You can’t just wang stuff in and expect a nice meal at the end of it. Well, that’s not strictly true. There are some things you can just chuck in they turn out OK. But, mostly, food that has been browned off first will benefit hugely. Sausages MUST MUST MUST be browned off before tossing in a slow cooker. I think we can all agree on that, right? No one wants a slow cooked yet white, flaccid sausage poking out of their casserole, do they? That’s enough to kill anyone’s smug mum buzz.

So, sausage casseroles are fab for the slow cooker. But we must brown our bangers and soften our veg first. Still, it’s not a lot to ask – and the resulting meal is really quite lovely.

Please do buy the best sausages you can afford. Ideally from the butchers, but if not then the best supermarket ones.

Makes: enough for 4 people

Takes: 20 mins prep + 6 hours slow cooking


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 good quality, thick pork sausages
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 100g pancetta cubes
  • 1 tin of flageolet beans, not drained
  • Fresh herbs: rosemary, sage etc (dried is almost as good)
  • About 300ml chicken stock (just enough to almost cover)
  • Seasoning
  • Splash cream (optional)
  • Parsley, to serve


  1. Brown sausages in a pan with a little oil. Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat more oil and soften garlic, onion, carrot and celery – add herbs and pancetta too. Cook on low for about 10 minutes or so. Pop these, along with sausages, into slow cooker.
  3. Empty tin of flageolet beans (with the liquid) into the slow cooker too.
  4. Make some chicken stock (light, so it’s not over salty). And just cover the sausages with it – if that. Too much liquid can ruin a slow cooker casserole as it doesn’t thicken.
  5. Let it cook on Low for 6 hours or so.
  6. Add cream last of all, and season to taste if needed.



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