Today I have a quick version of a French cassoulet, a sausage and white bean stew. A true French cassoulet is a hearty, slow-cooked, meat-studded stew from the South of France. The typical French version consists of duck confit, goose, pork or bacon, sometimes with mutton or veal, and is always combined with wine and beans. The southwestern French villages of Toulouse and Carcassone are thought to be the capital of cassoulet.
The recipe is Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans and it is from Pam Anderson’s delightful book Perfect One-Dish Dinners – All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers. If you aren’t familiar with Pam, be sure check out her blog Three Many Cooks. Pam is a former executive editor for Cooks Illustrated and has written several cookbooks, including one of my favorites - How to Cook Without a Book, Recipes & Techniques Every Cook Should Know By Heart.
A French cassoulet is a perfect one-dish meal for casual entertaining. Pam’s Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans is a quick version that comes together in about 10 to 15 minutes and only takes about an hour to cook. She shared her recipe here on Merry-Jennifer’s blog The Merry Gourmet. Merry-Jennifer’s recipe is almost exactly as written by Pam, but she modified the recipe slightly for her family’s taste by decreasing the cherry tomatoes from 3 pints to 2 and adding 4 cans of white beans instead of the 3 called for in the original recipe.
I followed Pam’s original recipe to a T and, as you can see above I included a butter crumb topping, which is typical in French cassoulet recipes. For the crumb topping, tear several slices of a good hearty bread or a European-style loaf into small pieces and chop them in a mini food processer until you have about two cups of fine bread crumbs. If you make more crumbs than you need, they store well in a baggie in the refrigerator or freezer. Melt two tablespoons of unsalted butter in a skillet and toss in the crumbs and season with a bit of sea salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown, about 12 – 15 minutes. Use the crunchy crumbs as a topping on the cassoulet before serving.
Cassoulet has long been a favorite in our family. You may remember my lighter version shown below, recipe here, that uses chicken as the base. If you’ve never eaten cassoulet, I really encourage you to give it a try. It’s French classical comfort food and just may become one of your family’s favorites too.
Grab a plate and join me and the other bloggers for the 5th Annual Blogger's Get-together at Almost Heaven South on Tellico Lake, Tennessee in June.