RECIPE BY MELISSA ROBERTS (source)
SERVES 4 TO 6*
*adapted to feed two very hungry hippies
- ACTIVE TIME: 30 MIN
- START TO FINISH: 1 1/4 HR
In case you are in the same boat as I was (and had never heard of a “cassoulet” until now) allow me to further introduce you. It’s usually a meat based dish, but as per Gourmet, this vegan twist on the meal is good enough to have carnivores forgetting that a meat version even exists (see below quote).
”A leek, carrot, and celery mirepoix, cooked until tender with rich white beans, gets a crisp, crunchy texture and delightfully rustic flavor from a garlicky bread-crumb topping flecked with parsley.”
Sounds good, no? Yeah, I agree. When Kyle’s mom suggested we give it a shot, I was game. And so the recipe searching began…
In the end, we ended up making both the vegan version and the traditional (meat filled) version of a cassoulet. And as you can see, the internet was very much a part of this cooking session.
Here’s the recipe along with the modifications. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- 3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped (I used minced garlic)
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 4 thyme sprigs (I used dried not fresh)
- 2 parsley sprigs (I used dried not fresh)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cans cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
- 2 cups water (I used 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable broth)
FOR GARLIC CRUMBS
- 1/2 loaf fresh sourdough baguette (coarsely chopped)
- 1/6 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic (I used minced garlic)
- 1/8 cup chopped parsley
Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then wash well and pat dry.
Cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herbs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden (~15 minutes).
Then, stir in beans and water, and let simmer while partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart (~30 minutes).
[The aroma at this point will be intoxicating]
MAKE GARLIC CRUMBS WHILE CASSOULET SIMMERS:
Preheat oven to 350°F with middle rack.
Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl until well coated.
Spread in a baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once halfway through, until crisp and golden (~12 to 15 minutes).
Cool crumbs in pan.
[And try not to eat them all while they cool]
Once done simmering, discard bay leaf (we actually leave it in and the person who gets it in their serving receives good luck).
[Liquid should be reduced a bit]
Mash some of the beans in the pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth (the squashed beans make the liquid thicker and less soup-like).
Season with salt and pepper and then add bread crumbs to the top (pressing them down to absorb excess liquid).
After adding crumbs, place the cassoulet in the oven for 15 minutes (at 350°F).
Ready for the final photos?
I didn’t take any pics of the other (non-vegan) version, but I’m fairly confident this one was the favorite of the evening.
We had (more) sourdough bread on the side, along with fresh fruit.
And now, the pièce de résistance…
Vegan Cassoulet! Isn’t she a beaut?!?
I dug right in.
T’was love at first bite. Seriously. I’m not one to throw the “L” bomb around, so this was one winner of a recipe. It was pretty heavy for a summer dinner (I usually crave lighter fare in the warm months), but I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome it was. I really enjoyed the flavors of the herbs, but I especially liked the combo of the beans with the veggies. Why don’t I use leeks more? Also, carrots and celery are so dang tasty. Kyle compared it to a white bean stew, and have to I agree a bit. Remember this soup?
Well, given my rave review, second helpings were obviously in order. And my eyes were WAY bigger than my stomach because after round dos my jeans were feeling a bit tight. Oof. It’s an uncomfortable price you have to pay for
deliciousness lack of self-control.