Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sausage and White Bean Cassoulet

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

  1. Heat a cassoulet or oven-proof stock pot over medium heat.  Add sausage and brown.  Remove from pan.
  2. Saute onion in olive oil until soft and brown. 
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown, about 15 seconds.
  4. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping bottom of pot with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add carrots, beans, potato, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, oregano and salt.
  6. 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. 
  7. Serve lightly dusted with parmesan cheese and your vegetable of choice.  I chose lightly sauteed chard.



  1. You make everything look so good! And I don't like beans OR sausage, haha. Unless it's deer... But I guess that's to be expected from a Montanan.

  2. I made this last night with slight modifications based on what I had in the house. OH MY GOD! It is perhaps the most delicious meal I have ever made. Mmmmmmmmmm :)