Try this nourishing and super quick casserole for a lighter alternative to winter stew.

This dish is a rendition of the slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat; classically pork sausages, goose, duck, pork skin and white beans.

Here we use hake which goes beautifully with the combination of flavours, textures and colours.

Makes 6 portions.

Preparation and cooking time 30 minutes, plus the overnight soaking.


•       6 x 250 gr hake fillets, pin boned, skin on

•       500 gr dried chickpeas 

•       250 gr pearl barley 

•       Salt

•       1 Lt fish stock

•       250 gr chorizo, skinned and cut into 1/4-inch slices

•       Freshly ground black pepper

•       1 large onion, peeled and finely diced

•       1 large carrot, peeled and cut in half length ways

•       2 celery stalks, cut in half length ways

•       4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

•       2 cloves garlic, pureed

•       1/4 bunch coriander, chopped

•       50 gr unsalted butter


1.     In separate bowls soak the dried chickpeas and pearl barley in salted water overnight.

2.     Drain and wash the chickpeas and pearl barley.

3.     In separate saucepans equally split the fish stock carrot and celery, add the chickpeas and pearl barley, separately to each pan, and cook gently until tender.

4.     Drain the cooked chickpeas and pearl barley from the cooking liquor, refresh in cold water, set aside for later.

5.     Heat a thick bottom pan, add the cut chorizo and cook on a gentle heat until lightly golden; this will allow some of the oil to seep out from the chorizo.

6.     Remove the chorizo from the pan; in the oil remaining add the garlic and onion, lightly cook until the onion is tender.

7.     Add the chick peas, pearl barley and chorizo to the onion, heat through. Add the chopped tomatoes and finish with chopped coriander. Season to taste.

8.     Season the hake fillets and cook in a non-stick frying pan, 3-4 minutes on each side; depending on the thickness of the fish, finish with the butter.

To present the finish dish, place a large spoon full of the cassoulet in the middle of a thick rimmed bowl, position the cooked fish on top, skin side up, and garnish with a sprig of coriander.

Recipe provided by Chef Mark Kember, Head Chef of Crescent Turner Whitstable and Crescent Victoria Margate


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