Cassoulet is the traditional French slow-cooked bean stew that is gaining a tasty popularity in the United States. Typically prepared with white beans, pork, sausage and vegetables, this hearty peasant dish will not only keep you warm during the cold winter months, but it will also prevent putting a dent in your budget. Read on for a classic cassoulet recipe along with a few more comfort food variations.
Classic CassouletMakes 4 to 6 servings
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons oil
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
1-1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 (19-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Combine thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven. Brown chicken on all sides, in batches for about 10 minutes (adding more oil if needed); move chicken to a plate using a slotted spoon.
2. Cook sausage in pot adding more oil for about 8 minutes or until browned; move sausage to plate with chicken using a slotted spoon and drain some oil from the pot.
3. Sauté onions, peppers, and garlic about 6 minutes or until softened. Pour in wine and let boil, stirring occasionally. Mix in tomatoes and juices, chicken broth, and bay leaf. Stir chicken, sausage, and spice mixture into pot and let simmer. Stir in beans when mixture is simmering.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs and parsley. Sprinkle mixture over mixture in pot and move to oven. Bake 30 minutes (at this point, use a wooden spoon to press breadcrumb mixture under the surface). Continue baking for another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Vegetarian Crock-pot CassouletMakes 8 servings
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound dry navy beans, soaked overnight
4 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
1 cube vegetable bouillon
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh lemon thyme, chopped
1 sprig fresh savory
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1. Saute onion and carrots in oil until softened. Combine onions, carrots, beans, broth, bouillon and bay leaf in a crock-pot. Cover ingredients with water. Tie herbs together with string or in cheesecloth and add to pot. Cook mixture on low setting for 8 hours.
2. One hour before serving, add potatoes and cook for one hour. Take herbs out of mixture before serving. Serve with crusty French bread and a green salad.
Microwave Lamb CassouletMakes 4 to 6 servings
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
3/4 pound lamb shoulder, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced
1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed, drained
1. Combine tomatoes, tomato sauce, scallions, lamb, garlic, bouillon and Italian seasoning in a large microwave-safe casserole dish. Cover with a lid and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir, then microwave for another 4 minutes.
2. Mix in zucchini and beans and microwave 7 more minutes, until meat is fully cooked and vegetables are tender. Serve in warmed soup bowls with slices of baguette.
More Comfort Food Stews
Carne Guisida - Hearty Tex-Mex Stew
Eggplant Lamb Stew
Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew