Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Cassoulet is one of the best of the myriad of traditional European dishes that combine beans and meat to produce wonderful rich, robust stews. This recipe maintains that spirit, but is much faster, easier, less expensive, and more contemporary, emphasizing the beans and vegetables over meat. (That probably makes it more, not less, traditional, since meat was always hard to come by before the mid-twentieth century.) The main recipe starts with already cooked beans or canned beans and is ready relatively fast. To begin with dried beans, see the variation; it takes more time, but the results are even better.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb Italian sausages, bone-in pork chops, confit duck legs (can use any combination thereof) or 1 lb duck breast (can use any combination thereof)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 2 leeks (trimmed, washed, and sliced) or 2 onions (trimmed, washed, and sliced)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 3 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 zucchini (medium) or 1 small head green cabbage (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes, with their juice (canned are fine)
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley leaves (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves (use fresh, chopped)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups white beans, drained and liquid reserved in any case (cooked, canned are OK)
- 2 cups stock (or dry red wine, bean cooking liquid, or water, plus more as needed)
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the meat, and cook, turning as needed, until the meat is deeply browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the garlic, leeks or onions, carrots, celery, and zucchini or cabbage; and sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their liquid, the reserved meat, and the herbs and bring to a boil. Add the beans; bring to a boil again, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but continuously. Cook for about 20 minutes, adding the liquid when the mixture gets thick and the vegetables are melting away.
- Fish out the meat and remove the bones and skin as needed. Chop into chunks and return to the pot along with the cayenne. Cook another minute or two to warm through, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.
- Slow-Cooked Cassoulet. Start with dried beans. After browning the meat in Step 1, leave it in the pan and add 1/2 pound dry white beans (they’ll cook faster if you soak them first) and enough water or stock to just cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. Meanwhile, in a separate pan with another 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cook the vegetables as directed in Step 2. Add them to the pot of beans along with the tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle bubble and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, adding more liquid as necessary to keep them moist. This will take anywhere from another 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the age of your dried beans.
DELICIOUS! I used Kielbasa and left out the thyme, the bay and the cayenne pepper (poor college student, don't have fancy things in my kitchen here) and it still turned out wonderfully!
Tasty. I used leeks and zucchini. Followed the recipe, but was a tad confused about the last part of the instructions, where it says to take the meat off the bones? The ingredient list calls for Italian sausage, which I used. Made for Theirs, Yours and Mine Photo Tag Event. :)