Cassoulet (Pronunciation: kas-oo-LAY) is a hearty French bean stew made with white beans and sausages, along with pork, lamb or other meat. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. Numerous regional variations exist, the best-known being the cassoulet from Castelnaudary, the self-proclaimed “Capital of Cassoulet”, Toulouse, andCarcassonne. All are made with white beans (haricots blancs or lingots).
A classic cassoulet recipe features goose or duck confit and topped with breadcrumbs and fried pork skins.
However, the following recipe is a pared down version of a traditional cassoulet.
White Bean & Sausage Cassoulet
2 tsp oil
3 links (10 oz) Italian sausage
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
3 cans (15.5 oz each) Great Northern beans, rinsed
2 cans (14.5 oz each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1⁄2 cup water
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
Seasoned Crumb Topping
2 tsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
2 Tbsp each grated Parmesan and chopped parsley
Heat oven to 375ºF. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.
Heat oil in a 5-qt pot over medium heat. Brown sausages on all sides until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove to plate.
In fat remaining in saucepan, sauté carrots, celery, onion and garlic until golden, about 5 minutes.
Cut sausages into 1⁄4-in.-thick slices. Add sausages, beans, tomatoes and their juices, water and thyme to saucepan. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until heated through and flavors are blended.
Topping: Toss oil and garlic with bread crumbs; spread on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, tossing once, until toasted. Cool slightly; stir in Parmesan and parsley. Serve Topping with cassoulet.