This rustic French dish is winter comfort food at its best.  There are lots of meats you can use - ham hocks, chicken thighs, lamb neck fillet...the key is to have a variety.  I've used canned beans here, but for an even better result, use dried beans and soak them yourself.  Any kind of soft white beans are great for this recipe.
Serves 8

  • 2 duck legs
  • 4 sausages, preferably Toulouse
  • 2 lamb shoulder shanks
  • 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into half-inch long pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 generous tbsp tomato purée
  • 1/2 bottle dry white wine
  • 2 330ml cans canellini beans
  • 1 330ml can flageolet beans
  • 2 330ml cans haricot beans
  • 500ml good vegetable or chicken stock
  • about 6 springs fresh thyme
  • parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • olive oil, for frying
  1. Add some olive oil to a large hob-proof casserole or other large pot.  Put on a high heat until very hot.
  2. Brown the duck legs, sausages and lamb shanks in the hot pan.  Once brown on all sides, remove all the meat and reserve.
  3. Turn down the heat slightly and add the bacon, onions, celery and carrots.
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the bacon is cooked and the vegetables softened.
  5. Add the tomato purée, mix well and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Turn up the heat, add the wine and deglaze the pot well, scraping any brownings from the bottom with a wooden spoon - reduce the liquid by about two thirds.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, add the beans, stock and thyme.  Return the browned meats to the pan and then cover.
  8. Cook for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.
  9. Remove the lid and cook for a further hour or until only a little liquid remains. 
  10. Before serving, remove the duck legs and shanks and take the meat off the bone in little chunks.  It should be very tender.  Return to the pan to warm through.  Check the seasoning, add the parsley if desired and serve.