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.