Easy White Bean Cassoulet Recipe

Slofoodgroup Team January 20, 2021

Quick-Cooked Cassoulet with Beef and Pork Ragù

Cassoulet is one of Southern France’s best known dishes. Once considered a peasant’s meal for using ingredients readily found in the pantry (white beans, duck or goose confit, gizzards, sausages and, other meats), this dish has more recently taken its place among France's most renowned delicacies and cherished staple meals. The name, Cassoulet, speaks to the vessel in which the dish was traditionally cooked in. A Cassole is a deep, round, conical clay pot. Though, a dutch oven, or any oven-safe dish would work.

Cassoulet is a slow-cooked bean and meat stew that takes long hours to cook and even days to prep ahead. We chose to omit the duck confit in this particular preparation, as the recipe would have required 3 days to make and we wanted a less-intensive dish. Home-cooked beans, ragù, and fried sausages kept our preparation hearty and delicious, though. The ingredients are layered nicely in a dish and sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs, then baked in the oven. Can be served alone, with pickles or with a leaf salad on the side.

Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: 2h‘

Cooking Time: 30’

Additional Time: 0’ 

White Bean Cassoulet with Ragù and Fried Sausage

Ingredients

For the beans:

  • 1 cup dry white beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved
  • 225 grams/8 oz. bacon, cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots cut into thirds
  • 1 head of garlic, peel on, halved crosswise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt

 

For the beef and pork ragù; 

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1½ tsp sea salt and more if needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock

 

For the Cassoulet Assembly:

  • 1 pound fresh pork sausage
  • 3 cups medium-fine fresh breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dill 

 

Procedure

  1. To a large pot add the soaked beans, onion, bacon, carrots, garlic, cloves, cumin, fresh thyme, bay leaf; pour in cold water to cover the beans by 5 cm/2 inches, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer; partially cover the pot and allow the beans to cook for 45-60 minutes, skimming surface occasionally and adding more water to keep the beans constantly submerged; once the beans are cooked through, remove pot from the heat and discard onion, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf.
  2. While the beans are cooking, make the ragù; bring a dutch oven pot with 2 tbsp vegetable oil over medium-high heat; season the ground meat with salt and freshly cracked black pepper; add the minced meat to the pot and cook until brown; once done, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot and garlic; cook while stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened, for about 7-8 minutes; add the canned tomatoes, beef stock, herbs and aromatics and stir well; season to taste and cook partially covered for 45 - 60 minutes; once done, remove the bay leaf and set aside;
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the ragù mixture and stir well; add enough liquid from the beans to cover the mixture; set aside.
  4. Fry the fresh sausages to a skillet, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, for about 10-15 minutes; allow to rest and chop into thirds; set aside.
  5. To the leftover juices and fat from the sausages, add the melted butter and the breadcrumbs; cook until golden brown and soaked in fat; remove from the heat, add the chopped dill and set aside;
  6. Preheat oven to 200°C/ 390°F;
  7. Rub inside an oven safe dish with garlic; add 1/3 of the ragout and bean mixture followed by 1/3 of the sausages; layer another 1/3 of the mixture followed by another 1/3 of the sausages; repeat until the ingredients are done; top with breadcrumbs (use gluten free variety, if desired) and bake at 200°C/ 390°F for 25-30 minutes.





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