White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet

White Bean & Sausage Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a long-simmered stew of white beans and pork, a classic from the southwest of France that dates back to the 14th century. The name ‘cassoulet’ comes from the earthenware cooking pot it was traditionally made in called the cassolle. 

This was an extremely comforting meal eaten with the threat of a 20-inch Blizzard looming over my head. It’s rustic, stick-to-your ribs, cold weather food. I observed how ugly it looked to which my Dad was quick to dismiss. To him it was supremely delicious looking. Man-food. And really what could be better than bacon infused beans with more porky chunks of goodness by way of Italian sausage floating around?!

The stew begins on top of the stove by sauteing aromatic vegetables and then adding bacon, beans, broth and herbs. It’s transferred to the oven where it slowly simmers to allow the rich flavors to develop. Seared slices of sausage are stirred in and a blanket of breadcrumbs sprinkled over the top form a crunchy crust to trap all the richness of the stew inside. I used a tomato pesto to brighten up the flavors and add a fresh, light element to counteracts the heaviness of the dish. 

The end result is incredible! Full-bodied. Earthy. Velvety. Warming. Filling. Deeply satisfying. And the snow-storm? Never touched us. Magic. Stew.

White Bean & Sausage Cassoulet
White Bean & Sausage Cassoulet
(Inspired by Lisa Garza)
1 cup Carrots, diced
1 cup Celery, diced
1 cup Yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Sea or Kosher Salt and fresh Black Pepper
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
8 slices Bacon
2 cans Cannelini Beans with juices
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Thyme
1 teaspoon Oregano
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Bay Leaf
1 pound Italian Sausage
1/4 cup Seasoned Italian Bread Crumbs
1 tablespoon Butter, melted
Tomato Pesto(recipe to follow)
Parmesan Cheese, for serving
1. In an oven-proof medium sized skillet with high sides saute the carrot, celery, and onion together with the olive oil until tender.
2. Stack the bacon slices on top of each other and slice lengthwise in 1/2-inch wide pieces. In a separate skillet cook until crisp. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. When the vegetables are tender add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan and add the Worcestershire to deglaze the pan. Add the beans, broth, half of the bacon, and spices including 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
4. Bring up to a simmer on the stove-top and then transfer the pan to the oven, cook for 30 minutes.
5. While the beans are cooking cut the sausages in 1/2-inch wide slices. Remove the bacon crumbles from the pan, set them aside, drain grease and sear the sausages on each side.
6. After 30 minutes in the oven, remove the pan and stir in the sausages. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
7. Cook for 15 more minutes in the oven. Sprinkle the bacon and bread crumbs evenly over top. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 15-20 more minutes.
8. Remove bouquet garni and bay leaf. Serve with tomato pesto and crusty bread.
Tomato Pesto
(by Reeni)
1 and 1/2 cups vine-ripened Tomatoes, seeds removed, rough chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 cloves garlic
tablespoon of Fresh Basil or Parsley leaves
1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Sea or Kosher Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. In the bowl of a food processor add the tomatoes, nuts, garlic, and basil.
2. With the food processor running, drizzle in the oil. Puree until smooth.
3. Stir in Parmesan, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Cooks Notes:
-It’s a good idea to make the Tomato Pesto early in the day or the day before to let the flavors develop, and to get it out of the way.
-If omitting the Tomato Pesto add a cup of fresh diced tomato in with the beans.
-Go easy on the salt: the bacon, sausage and beans will add a lot.
-If you like a brothier type of stew add more chicken broth at the beginning, mix in all the bacon and omit the topping.
White Bean & Sausage Cassoulet

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