|Cassoulet, naturally gluten-free|
I adore the holidays. Have I mentioned that? The house remains bedecked in twinkle lights and even though Christmas is over, I keep finding bits of ribbon and tissue paper strewn about the house. With all this festive magic has come a constant stream of guests, dinner parties and food. There has been food everywhere, constantly.
Except for when there hasn’t. Interestingly enough, between bouts of frenzied cooking and baking I let our pantry get shockingly bare. I usually grocery shop once a week, but during December I let the time between trips stretch to two weeks or longer. I’ll admit we did a fair bit of eating out, but I also took the empty cupboards as my own personal challenge to create delectable meals without the benefit of fancy ingredients.
Enter: the cassoulet.
Cassoulet is defined as a casserole of white beans, various meats, vegetables and herbs slowly baked or simmered.
I’d never prepared this dish, but the description seemed straight-forward, so away I went. Oh. My. Goodness. The combination of sautéing the aromatics and then slowly simmering the vegetables in wine created a complex, deep flavor. It tasted of winter and warmth and comfort. Even though I’d never eaten cassoulet in my life, it tasted like home.
|Lightly sautéed chard|
As we enter into the darkest days of winter, let this stew keep you warm and fed. I love that the ingredients are items most of us keep on hand and they are relatively in-season: root vegetables, canned tomatoes and beans, and sausage from the freezer. Share cassoulet with your friends and family and know that you are home.
|Cassoulet and chard, lightly dusted with parmesan cheese|
Sausage and White Bean Cassoulet with Tomatoes and Potatoes
1 lb. chicken Italian sausage
½ Tbsp. olive oil
½ onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
3-4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 - 14 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 large red potato, roughly chopped
14 oz diced tomatoes, in juice
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp salt
- Heat a cassoulet or oven-proof stock pot over medium heat. Add sausage and brown. Remove from pan.
- Saute onion in olive oil until soft and brown.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown, about 15 seconds.
- Deglaze pan with wine, scraping bottom of pot with a wooden spoon.
- Add carrots, beans, potato, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, oregano and salt.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about an hour or until all ingredients are soft but not mushy.
- Serve lightly dusted with parmesan cheese and your vegetable of choice. I chose lightly sauteed chard.