Vegetarian Cassoulet with Bread Topping

Vegetarian Cassoulet with Bread Topping

An old legend about cassoulet relates that the popular French bean casserole was invented in the southern French town of Castelnaudary during an English siege in the Hundred Years War. Unable to venture outside the town walls to collect fresh vegetables, the townspeople invented a rich and hearty repast with their preserved stock of dried beans and herbs, cold storage vegetables, and pork sausages and duck fat. A more contemporary legend has it that we vegetarians can dispense with the copious meats that are added to traditional cassoulets and still enjoy a robust, filling and delicious meal that's perfect for cool fall weather.

This recipe, adapted from Delicious Living, includes a mock version of "herbes de provence", a mixture of dried herbs and lavender flowers, for those of us who don't usually have it on hand. If you do have it, however, just substitute a tablespoon of herbes de provence for the herb blend given below.

Cassoulet with bread toppingVegetarian Cassoulet with Bread Topping
Recipe by
Adapted from Delicious Living
Cuisine: French
Published on November 7, 2008

Rich, savory, filling and nourishing baked bean and vegetable casserole with dried herbs and a baked bread and Parmesan cheese topping

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Herb blend (herbes de provence):
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried savory
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Note: Herbes de provence is ordinarily a mixture of dried herbs and lavender flowers that is not usually on hand in most of the world. If you do have it, however, just substitute a tablespoon of herbes de provence for the herb blend given above.
Cassoulet:
  • 1 1/4 cups dried cannellini (white kidney) beans (3 3/4 cups cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 whole dried red chilies
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
Bread topping:
  • 3 thick slices French bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
Instructions:
  • Rinse the dried beans under running water and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain the next day and add to a medium saucepan with several inches of fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.

  • Preheat the oven to 325° and heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments, then swirl around to coat the pan. Toss in the onion, potato, carrot, celery and dried red chilies and sauté for 5 minutes. Now add the herb blend along with the garlic, and continue to cook for another minute.

  • Remove from heat and stir in the beans, vegetable stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper to taste. Pour into a large and lightly oiled casserole dish, and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the bread topping by combining the bread, olive oil, parsley, Parmesan cheese and garlic in a food processor and blending on high speed until the bread is reduced to fine crumbs.

  • Remove the cassoulet from the oven and discard the whole chilies and bay leaf. Turn up the oven to 400° and sprinkle half the bread topping over the beans. Bake for 15 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven once more, and stir the baked topping into the cassoulet. Sprinkle the rest of the topping over the beans and return to the oven for 15 more minutes, or until the bread topping is a light brown.

  • Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Vegetarian Cassoulet with Bread Topping

6 comments:

Vij said...

Looks yummy!!! tempting dish.

Usha said...

This sounds truly delightful..I have come across herbes de provence in a couple of recipes and your tip for its replacement will also be very useful...thanks for the recipe and the tip :-)

Cynthia said...

I recently read an article about this dish and am happy to see what it looks like.

Johanna said...

looks delicious - I have made cassoulet with aubergine and fennel which I would highly recommend adding - but your photos look so appetising that I am tempted to try this recipe too!

Aparna said...

I have only read about this and your veg version looks pretty good. I'm bookmarking it to try out.

Sara said...

This looks terrific! I'll be trying it this fall for sure.