My affinity for French food often makes me consider my heritage and wonder if perhaps my family has lied about their background. On second thought, that would actually be a real shame given that I have an Italian heritage tattoo taking up the majority of one shoulder. But when it comes down to it, I’ll take cassoulet over cacciatore any night of the week and my love of animals will never win over my love of foie gras. There’s a richness to be found in French cooking that is missing from other similar cuisines and rustic French dishes offer comfort like no other. One might argue that this dish is meant to be a labor of love and that requires time.
I had my first ever taste of cassoulet at Pigalle restaurant in Boston during Restaurant Week a few years back. It was love at first bite and I devoured the whole thing, not once regretting that I left very little room for dessert. Their dish was made with a braised lamb shank, duck confit, and house made pork sausage. Clearly, I was not about to replicate this dish 100% at 6:00 pm on a Tuesday night. As much as I would love to quit my job and stay at home cooking all day with no grocery budget in sight, Nick has informed me that that is not a viable option. What resulted was a dish that took inspiration from many traditional recipes that I came across and modified to work with our busy lives.
My recipe is made with three different types sausage, giving it a variety of flavor but keeping it simple with a short cook time. This was an essential step in making cassoulet for a weeknight meal. Instead of going through the process of starting with dry beans, a key ingredient in the dish, I used canned white beans which only required a quick rinse. There’s just no reason not to have a classic French dish for dinner when it’s this easy and I assure you it’s just as delicious as “the real thing.”
Quick and Easy Sausage Cassoulet
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1 pound linguica sausage, removed from casings
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, plus liquid
- 3 15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the sausage. Break up the meat and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes until it is browned and crumbly. Set the meat aside and add the onion, carrots, celery and salt and pepper to the pot. When the vegetables have softened for about 5 to 7 minutes, add the tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, and cloves. Continue to cook the vegetables until the seasonings are fragrant, another 2 to 3 minutes.
Deglaze the pot with the white wine and make sure to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom. Add the stock and bring the mixture up to a low boil before adding the tomatoes and beans and returning the sausage to the pan. Allow everything to simmer together, stirring well for a few minutes until everything is mixed. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top and drizzle with olive oil.
Cover the Dutch oven and bake your cassoulet for 30 to 40 minutes, until most of the liquid has reduced out and the breadcrumb topping is crispy.