This archive post from our original acornometrics blog on Tumblr was posted in December of 2104, under the title: Grace Your Holiday Table with Vegan Cassoulet. We’re bringing it back today because a reference to it popped up on Facebook, stirring up new interest in the recipe. Enjoy!
Wait, isn’t cassoulet full of duck confit and all kinds of pork and sausages? Well yes, but … what it really is, more abstractly, is a garlicky bean stew full of “chunks of things” and I couldn’t see why those chunks couldn’t be veggies. The results turned out to be totally yummy. This isn’t a precise recipe, more like a “plan of attack” because the best cassoulets are a reflection of the chef who is preparing it.
1 lb white beans (we prefer cannellini), rinsed, picked-over, and soaked overnight
1 shallot, studded with about 6 to 8 cloves
5 cloves garlic (peeled, whole, not chopped)
¼ teaspoon salt
fresh cracked white pepper
Mirepoix: diced shallots, carrots, garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ c diced sun-dried tomatoes (“vegan bacon”)
1 Tablespoon of harissa (Tunisian chili paste)
1 Tablespoon diced preserved lemon (or the zest of one fresh lemon)
½ c white wine
Thyme (several fresh sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 quart of vegetable broth (may need more)
1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, oven-roasted with a handful of fennel seed.
1 lb butternut squash cubes (about equal size to a brussels sprout half), oven-roasted
1 lb rutabaga cubes (about equal size to a brussels sprout half), oven-roasted
1 lb of pearl onions, blanched and pealed
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
½ cup chopped parsley at end
1 cup of panko or other breadcrumbs, moistened with olive oil and seasoned with a bit of salt
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
Cook the Beans
Drain the soaking liquid, rinse the beans, and put them in large heavy sauce pan with enough water to cover by an inch or two. Add the clove-studded shallot and garlic cloves and seasonings. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cover and cook until beans are just tender. This should take at least 30 minutes and possibly 45 minutes (depending on the type and age of the beans, etc.). Remove and discard the shallot. Remove the garlic cloves, mash them into a paste, and stir that paste into the beans. Set beans aside.
Assemble and Cook the Cassoulet
In a 5-quart Dutch oven (that can go from stove-top to oven) heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the mirepoix and sauté, season with salt and pepper. Add the sun-dried tomato and preserved lemon, and harissa. De-glaze the pan with the white wine. Add the cooked beans, thyme, and vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the brussels sprouts, squash cubes, rutabaga cubes, and pearl onions. Add more stock (or water) if needed. Consistency should be like stew, flowing, but thicker than soup. Simmer for about 20 minutes to meld flavors. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and add chopped parsley. CAN BE MADE AHEAD TO THIS POINT AND EVEN REFRIGERATED AND FINISHED A DAY OR TWO LATER
Finish the Cassoulet in the Oven
If you have prepared ahead of time, bring the stew back to room temperature. If it has thickened too much, add more stock (or water) to bring back to stew consistency.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Bring the stew back to serving temperature on the stove-top. Check and adjust for salt and pepper.
Spread the prepared bread crumbs in a generous layer over top of rewarmed stew and bake until the crumbs are nicely browned and stew is bubbly.
Serve with crusty bread or brown rice and sautéed greens or salad on the side.
Wine pairing: a fruity dry red wine from Southern France, Italy, or Spain