Wednesday, January 18, 2012

For Your Hibernation: Sausage & White Bean Cassoulet



It was too good to be true.  For weeks and weeks, Saskatoon was experiencing above average temperatures.  Like we barely had snow for Christmas, and just 10 days ago I was out for dinner, wearing my cute boots and a leather jacket that wasn't a parka.  It was surreal, friends.  But the hammer has come down hard over the past few days, locking us in a deep freeze that really isn't super fun.  You know, stuff like skin will freeze in a few minutes, and it's pretty much requisite to plug in your car, so you know, you can drive it the next day.  Heck this morning, it was just a few degrees away from -50 degrees Celsius, with the wind chill. For my American friends, that's about -52.6 F.  Hella cold, y'all.  To answer your question, on days like today I wonder why I live here too.  Really need to think about renting that villa in the south of France. Or that condo in New Mexico.  Or that tree house in Belize.




So when temps really dip (that's putting it mildly, no?) I like all things comfort.  Like my electric blanket that was a God-send gift a couple of Christmases back, and my favourite stretched-out sweater that's not remotely sexy, but super cozy.  Required footwear comes in the form of chunky hand-knit slippers.  Only the cats see me in my attire and they don't judge, well maybe just behind my back.  The tea pot has a constant brew inside, and right now I love this spicy chai blend, complete with chili peppers and chunks of chocolate.  Yummers.  All I seriously do lately is cozy up under a blankie with a brew and a cat and watch tele.  How do you say hibernation? 




Okay, so when I'm not hibernating, I'm eating food that will bring comfort to the soul and the belly.  Yummy, simple food, that doesn't require a lot of effort or ingredients, because basically when it's this cold I only go to and fro work; a well-stocked larder can be a saving grace.  A few months back I spied this recipe over on  Julie's site, and I knew it would come in handy at some point over Winter's duration.  It's sausages and beans, baked with tomatoes and olive oil.  Balsamic vinegar added for drama and fresh thyme for flourish.  Cassoulet is traditionally a slow-cooked bean stew, with several steps and a long ingredient list.  Good if you have the time and inclination.  I'm a little short on both lately, so this quick version pretty much rocks my bean-loving world.  And the leftovers are even better the next day or two.  To speed things up even more you can use any canned white beans, like kidney or navy.  I'm all about cooking my own beans lately, because I am cheap they are economical, and sometimes that whole BPA thing associated with canned goods scares the bejeezus out of me.  So I soak my own beans over night, next day just simmer for an hour or so until tender, and presto!  Your own beans that didn't have to come out of a can.




To get started, place some cherry tomatoes on the bottom of your favourite baking dish.  Top with cloves of garlic and fresh sausage.  I used locally made Chorizo, but you can use Italian too.  Whatever you have on hand.
Don't forget the balsamic and olive oil drizzle.  Thyme for flourish!  Onion for fun!




Bake until sausages are crispy and the tomatoes have burst their little skins.  Stir in your cooked beans and more tomatoes.




20 minutes later, you have your very own ridiculously delicious cassoulet.  Sounds all fancy and French, but it's basically beans and sausages.  If you are down with that like I am, then we were meant to be friends.  Speaking of friends, I need to make some new ones, especially if they have a villa in the south of France and are willing to rent it out to a nice girl who likes to cook.  I even do my own dishes.




Sausage and White Bean Cassoulet

2 pints of cherry tomatoes
4-6 hot Italian sausages OR Chorizo sausages
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 onion, cut into wedges
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
coarse salt and pepper
few sprigs fresh thyme OR rosemary
3 cups cooked white navy beans or white kidney beans OR 1 19 oz can (540ml) of white beans, rinsed and drained well
chicken broth or white wine(optional)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 *F.
Scatter tomatoes over bottom of dish (reserve about 1/2 cup to add later).  Add garlic, onion and sausages over top.  Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil.  Toss on thyme and sprinkle with S & P.  Bake about 25-30 minutes, for sausages to be golden and tomatoes start to burst.  Remove from oven and stir in beans and reserved 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes.  If you'd like a bit more sauce with your beans, add a glug or white wine or chicken stock.   Return to oven and bake 20 minutes longer or until beans are cooked through.  Serve with bread and butter for dunking; green salad on the side.  Makes enough for 4.  Recipe adapted from Dinner with Julie via Pam Anderson and the Merry Gourmet





25 comments:

  1. I'm in hibernation mode too. This looks awesome!!!

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  2. It looks yummy, I definitely cook lots of meats and beans and potatoes in winter, not to mention chocolate.....

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  3. This looks so good! I make sausages and beens often, but haven't tried garnishing it with balsamic- great tip!

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  4. Gosh, this looks very cozy, perfect for a meal in front of fire :)
    Very beautiful pictures.

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  5. Here in the valley it was -25 with the wind chill today and more to come of course. No wonder your photos are always bathed in sunshine since you live in Saskatchewan. The sun always shines there!!!!

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  6. Eek -50 is crazy, I thought it was cold here in Ottawa at -35 with the wind chill. This dish needs to happen here this weekend. It looks lovely!

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  7. Oh friend, I can't even imagine -50 F! It's a lovely 78 F in Austin today. Mild, balmy winters are the trade off for our ungodly hot summers. Although I'm not hibernating, this dish still sounds divine. And looks beautiful too!

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  8. Thanks all! Happy to report temps are on the rise this weekend...though I don't think I can give up my electric blanket just yet!

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  9. Looks delicious. Can't wait to try it. Bet Don Draper would like it too!!

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  10. this does look good, especially with snow weather coming!

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  11. I think I've just found my dinner recipe for tonight! Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing :)

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  12. Amazing dish, my brother-in-law makes Cassoulet every year and it's delicious.

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  13. This is my dinner tonight! I ended up adding a head of kale that I had picked up. Served with some homemade bread on the side - so freaking delicious!

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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  14. Hi, this looks amazing! I featured your recipe on my blog. I'm making this for dinner tonight. I can't wait to try it!

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  15. Those beans look so perfectly plump, and the sausage is totally mouthwatering. Sounds like a truly fantastic winter meal!

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  16. where did you get that cast iron cassarole... it looks beautiful

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  17. I had a great laugh at the I am cheap/they are economical line. Did you get that from me?
    This is one I think I'll try!
    Peter

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  18. You all leave the kindest comments! The Finn, I got the cast iron casserole at Canadian Tire for a super deal. It's Kitchen Aid and it's fabulous. Peter, I may have gotten that one from you :)

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  19. Oh my Goodness, this was AMAZING! My whole family absolutely loved it and I plan to make it again in the near future. I added chickpeas because I didn't have enough beans, and they were delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

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  20. Sounds fantastic - so happy your family enjoyed the cassoulet!

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  21. Looks yummy! Just pinned to Pinterest.

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  22. This looks so good - I made your homemade pad thai tonight, which was a huge hit, and am going to do this one tomorrow. So happy I found your site!

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  23. Thank you so much! Glad you found me too :)

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  24. this was an amazing dish. so easy to make , took no time at all. There where no left overs, which was upsetting to my family LOL!!


    thank you for sharing

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

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