Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vegetarian Cassoulet

Here is a great one-dish meal for a chilly week. A cassoulet is a French casserole, traditionally made with sausage, beans, herbs, and vegetables. This one has similar seasonings and gets it's depth from smoked paprika. It is hearty, filling, and healthy and goes great with a warm baguette. Flageolet beans are the classic cassoulet bean. They can be found at Citarella or other specialty food store. Navy beans are a decent substitute. You can also use canned beans, if you like. I have never seen canned flageolets, but it's always possible. If you use dried, soak the beans in the morning, so they are ready to go when you begin the recipe.

Vegetarian Cassoulet

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced shallots
¾ cup chopped celery
1 t minced garlic
1 cup diced green pepper
2 cups diced tomatoes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bouquet garni
Dash of smoked paprika or smoked sea salt
Sea salt and white pepper
3 cups dry flageolet beans, or navy beans
1 cup water or vegetable broth

Soak dry beans for 6-10 hours and drain. Fill a pot with fresh water. Add soaked beans, 2 Tbsp sea salt, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium. Cook until beans are tender, about an hour. Drain when done; set aside.

Heat oil in a medium pot, Dutch oven, or cassoulet. Cook shallots for 4-5 minutes on low. Add celery, garlic, green pepper, tomatoes, and spices. Bring to almost a boil, then lower heat. Cook for 30 minutes.

Add cooked beans and about a cup of broth or water.

Simmer one hour on low until liquid thickens (uncovered). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 30 minutes in large ramequins or cassoulet dish to serve. This is great to make ahead. Just do the last step when you’re ready to eat.

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