Quick Cassoulet

January 21st, 2011

I have made many cassoulets over the years.  I blogged about Julia Child’s lentil cassoulet here.  Most cassoulets have several kinds of meats.  In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia explains that several regions of France claim that their version is the only authentic version.  Toulousains claim that it must include preserved goose, confit d’oie, or it is not a real cassoulet.  Some say that the cassoulet was born in Castelnaudary and should only include beans, pork,and sausage.  The recipe that she includes in “Mastering” includes pork loin, shoulder of lamb and sausages.  The one thing that all cassoulets have in common is the beans.  They all include white beans, except the lentil cassoulet that I made previously.  A true cassoulet starts with dry white beans and can take days to make.

When I saw the recipe for Quick Cassoulet in Cooking Light ( I know, I know . . . . seems like everything I cook lately comes from that source),  I knew I had to make it.  Every cassoulet is basically baked beans with meat added.  What makes it special is the flavor in the liquid in the dish.  When you saute onions, carrots, garlic and celery to soften and then add white wine and cognac to the pan, you are bound to end up with a tasty base.  Using canned cannellini beans shortens the cooking time and a finishing touch of butter moistened bread crumbs finishes the dish. 

In this dish the only meat is sausage.  I will present the recipe as written, but you can use any type of sausage that you prefer.  I used a fresh turkey sausage and a smoked turkey sausage mixture.  You could even add leftover shredded chicken or pork.


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (4-inch) pork sausages, sliced (about 8 ounces)
4 (4-inch) lamb sausages, sliced  (D’Artagnan is a good source)
4 (4-inch) duck sausages, sliced (Again D’Artagnan)
Cooking spray
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup cognac or brandy
5 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4 ounce) piece French bread baguette
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.  Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add sausages; cook 6 minutes, stirring frequently. ( I had to do this in batches)  Remove sausages from pan using a slotted spoon; drain.  Wipe pan with paper towels, leaving browned bits on bottom of pan.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through salt); cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add wine and cognac; bring to a boil.  Cook 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Place thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and cloves on a double layer of cheesecloth.  Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely.  Add cheesecloth bag, broth, beans, and tomatoes to vegetable mixture; stir to combine.  Return sausages to pan; stir.  Bring mixture to a boil, and remove from heat.  ( At this point I transferred the mixture to a casserole, but if you are using an attractive Dutch oven leave it alone).

Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until fine crumbs measure 2 cups.  Melt butter in a large skiller over medium-high heat.  Add crumbs to pan; saute 5 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.  Sprinkle crumbs evenly over bean mixture.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.  Discard cheesecloth bag before serving.

Printable recipe

6 responses to “Quick Cassoulet”

  1. That sounds like perfect comfort food for a cold January evening!

  2. racheld says:

    YESSSS!!! What perfection for such a night as this!! Since I used the only Cannellinis in a salad this week, I do think my only resort will be the two cans of Northerns which I keep handy as well, but the effect should be close.

    Perhaps those Turkey Brats in the upstairs fridge would be a good addition, shucked of their casings, and browned before mixing in.

    You DO beat all for thinking of the GOOD THINGS!


  3. Donnie says:

    That looks very good and filling with the beans. I think even picky Don will like this. Take care.

  4. Big Dude says:

    One of the things I like about reading the blogs of you real cook’s is the improvement in my vocabulary. I’d never heard the word Cassoulet, but it sure looks like something I need to try.

  5. girlichef says:

    Great minds think alike, Penny 😉 Your cassoulet sounds wonderful!

  6. I am bookmarking this recipe. I like the rustic style of the sausages, beans and breadcrumbs in this dish. This looks like it would make for quite a hearty meal.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.