From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked bean casserole that was first made in the peasant kitchens of southern France. Traditionally, it was made with haricot beans, some type of meat, generally pork, goose, duck or mutton, and duck or goose confit. Confit is usually prepared from salted goose or duck legs that are preserved by storing them in the fat in which they slowly braise. The dish itself is named after the vessel, an earthenware cassole, in which it cooks. In the United States, the term cassoulet tends to be applied to any hearty bean-based casserole. That's the case with tonight's recipe, which was called a cassoulet by its developers. I found the recipe in Woman's Day magazine, and while I don't consider it to be a cassoulet in the classic sense, it is a fine bean casserole that I am happy to share with you. I try to make this dish the night before I plan to serve it. The long night's sleep gives the ingredients a chance to meld and the dish develops a richness that is missing when it is first made. If you can find it, use duck sausage when you make this casserole. It is an upgrade that adds enormous flavor to the dish. I hope you will give this recipe a try. It is fine fall and winter fare and it is not difficult to prepare . Here's how this bean casserole is made.
Sausage and White Bean Casserole...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Woman's Day magazine
2 teaspoons oil
3 (10-oz) links Italian sausage or Bratwurst
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalk) celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons 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 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Seasoned Crumb Topping
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
2 tablespoons each grated Parmesan and chopped parsley
1) Heat oven to 375 degrees F. You'll need a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.
2) Heat oil in a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Brown sausages on all sides until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove to plate.
3) Using fat remaining in saucepan, sauté carrots, celery, onion and garlic until golden, about 5 minutes.
4) Cut sausages into 1⁄4-inch 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.
5) 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. Yield: 8 servings.
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