Saturday, March 22, 2008


Almost every family has traditions surrounding the holidays and typically they incorporate food. Thanksgiving equals turkey, Christmas perhaps a beef roast of some sort, and for Easter the answer is almost always ham (or a pork roast). While the rest of us gather around the table with eyes bigger than our stomachs could ever be, there is a set of people who lag behind for they know their fate before they even pick up a fork.

Vegetarians, this post is for you. This Easter while we are digging into our roasts and our hams, you too will have a full and satisfied belly. This year, you’re having cassoulet.

Cassoulet is the most famous dish of South France and has as many variations as there are cities. No matter the variation, however, the base ingredient in cassoulet is always the same-white beans. This recipe incorporates fresh, garlicky bread crumbs which I guarantee, will easily fill the void where lamb and sausage typically reside.

For cassoulet

3 Leeks (white and pale green parts only)
4 Carrots, cubed into 1-inch pieces
3 Celery Ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1/4 C. Olive Oil
4 Thyme Sprigs
2 Parsley Sprigs
1/2 Bay Leaf
1/8 t. Ground Cloves
3 (19-ounce) Cans Cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
1 Qt. Water

For garlic crumbs
4 C. Fresh coarsely ground bread crumbs from a baguette
1/3 C. Olive Oil1
T. Clove Garlic, chopped
1/4 C. Parsley, chopped

1. Over medium heat, cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herb sprigs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large heavy pot. Stir occasionally until softened and golden, about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in beans, then water, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.

While cassoulet simmers, make bread crumbs:

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/4 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, then return to bowl and stir in parsley.

Finish cassoulet:Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf. Mash some of beans in pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle with garlic crumbs.

Recipe by As seen on

1 comment:

Mo said...

Sounds good.
Still want a sausage to fill my void, though....

Hoppy Easter!