I put these beauties to great use again in this amazing Cassoulet. It turned out to be a huge success: the husband was oohing and aahing, the kids cleaned their plates and I, for one, couldn’t get enough. Not convinced? Maybe this will help goad you: I went to sleep that night thinking of how I couldn’t wait to eat the Cassoulet again for lunch the next day. And you know what? It was even better then.
So, assemble this Cassoulet ahead of time (one or two days is good) and bake it the day of serving. It is definitely one of those dishes that time will actually make better. And you will be left wondering when you’ll get to eat the leftovers again.
Two Bean and Sausage Cassoulet
1 cup dried European Soldier Beans
1 cup dried Anasazi Brand Beans
8 cups cold water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, trimmed
1 dried bay leaf
4 whole cloves
4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 (14-oz) can chopped tomatoes, with juices
1 lb of Italian sausage, sliced into 1-inch chunks
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
**If you’ve got a large dutch oven or stovetop and oven-proof casserole use that from the start. If you only have an oven-proof casserole, begin this in a large pot and then transfer just before baking.In a large bowl or pot, cover beans with cold water by 2 inches and soak 8 to 12 hours. Alternatively, place the beans in a pot with 2 inches of water to cover, bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes, then remove pot from heat, cover and let beans soak for 2 hours. In either case, drain in a colander and rinse well before proceeding.
Place the beans back into a large pot and bring to a boil with the 8 cups cold water, vegetable broth, tomato paste, onion and garlic. Tie the celery, bay leaf and parsley sprigs with kitchen string and add to the pot. Stir in the cloves, season with salt and pepper, reduce and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes with juices and simmer 20 minutes more.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brown sausage until golden. Add the sausage to the pot of beans once done and reserve the skillet.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir the bread crumbs into the skillet with sausage drippings and cook, stirring, until golden. Remove from heat and season breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.
If you’re not already using a dutch oven or stovetop casserole, ladle the cassoulet into an oven-proof casserole. Spread bread crumb topping evenly over cassoulet and bake, uncovered, until bubbling and crust is golden, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes then serve.