Cook3 hrs 30 mins
Though cassoulet is not usually a vegetarian dish, this variation on the classic is very good. For the white beans one can use flageolet, or cannellini or great northern beans. You can also cook the beans a day ahead of when you plan to make the cassoulet. The formation of the crust twice, with the first one mixed into the cassoulet, is well worth the extra 20 minutes it takes. As Julia Child would state, cassoulet is not a fast dish but a delicious one. This recipe was adapted from: "The Vegetarian Bistro", by Marlena Spieler.
- 2 cups dried white beans
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 potato, peeled and diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon herbes de provence, crushed
- 1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
- 1 1⁄2 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 1⁄2 cups vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumb
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Cook beans according to package directions; can be cooked in a pressure cooker or crockpot. Cook until tender but don't overcook.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Reserve 5 of the garlic cloves.
- In a large heavy saute pan, over medium-high heat, saute the pepper, carrots, potato and remaining garlic cloves, in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- In an earthenware (or corningware) casserole, layer the cooked drained beans, sauteed vegetables, diced tomatoes, herbes de Provence, thyme, red wine, and stock, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper.
- Cover casserole with a tight fitting lid and bake for about one hour.
- Add more liquid if needed to keep the beans from burning.
- Mince the reserved garlic cloves.
- Combine minced garlic with the bread crumbs, minced parsley and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Increase oven heat to 400 degrees F.
- Remove casserole from the oven, remove lid and spread half of the crumb mixture over the top.
- Return uncovered casserole to the oven and bake about 15 minutes, or until a golden crust has formed.
- Break the crust and stir it into the cassoulet.
- Repeat by spreading the remaining half of the crumb mixture over the top of the cassoulet.
- Return uncovered dish to the oven and bake until the second and final crust has formed.
- Then serve.
I'm not giving this a star rating because I changed several things so I don't think that would be fair. (I used canned beans and canned tomatoes and subbed more broth for the wine.) However, I wanted to make a couple comments.<br/><br/>I thought there was not nearly enough crumb topping for the amount of beans. When I saw that, I doubled the amount, but it still didn't really make a crust that covered the top. Maybe you need a smaller, deeper casserole dish than I used.<br/><br/>Also, I though it was too bland, Used the full amount of spices and even added an onion to the vegetables, but still it lacked something. Maybe it was the wine, but maybe not.
A tasty, wintry bean dish - and lethally garlicky! The method is a bit fiddly, in terms of preparing things separately then combining them, but the end result is worth it, and it was simpler than it looked in the recipe. Right up until serving time, I was worried that the cassoulet was too liquid, but stirring in the first crust seems to have absorbed all the excess wine-flavoured juices, and in the end I wondered where all the liquid had disappeared to! The crust topping was so delicious I would be tempted to make double next time. I made it by whizzing bread, garlic and parsley in the food processor, and it was gorgeous (useful for other dishes, as well). Reviewed for Pick A Chef, Fall 2007.