I mentioned before that I lived a few years in Paris, when I was a student. One French dish that always eluded me while living there, and which I will forever associate with reading Celine's Journey to the End of the Night, was the famous rustic dish called cassoulet. The "real" version is a fatty, porky, mess of a dish, and never appealed to me in that form. But when I discovered this much lighter sounding version in Gourmet, I was intrigued and knew it was a dish I could easily veganize.
This dish has quickly become one of our absolute favorite winter meals at home. It is really easy to make, comes together quickly, and is full of garlicky goodness. It's hearty and warming, but so full of flavor it won't make you feel heavy or too full. You will imagine yourself enjoying this meal in the French countryside, so be sure to pour yourself a good glass of red wine to go with it, though speaking with French accents is entirely optional.
|This cassoulet inaugurated my new Le Creuset pan. Vive la France!|
Vegan Sausage & White Bean Cassoulet
makes 4 servings
4 vegan Italian sausage links (I used Tofurky brand, which are flavored with sun-dried tomato and basil), cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 med. onions, halved and sliced thin lengthwise (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 1/2 tsp. mixed chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and/or sage or 3/4 tsp. mixed dried herbs, crumbled
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens or fresh parsley (wash and dry before chopping)
one 14 1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes including juice
salt and pepper, to taste
19-oz. can white beans such as cannellini, navy, or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts discarded, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley leaves (wash and dry before chopping)
1. Cook sausages in 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil to pan and cook onions and garlic, stirring, until golden. Stir in herbs (including bay leaf), scallions or parsley, tomatoes with juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, then continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add sausage and beans to tomato mixture and cook, stirring, until heated through. Discard bay leaf and cover cassoulet to keep warm while preparing topping.
4. For topping, heat olive oil in a skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Saute bread cubes until pale golden. Stir in garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and saute 1 minute while stirring.
5. Transfer cassoulet to serving dish and cover evenly with topping.