Savory Sausage and White Bean Stew with Crispy Sage Topping
Cassoulet is one of the wonderful iconic French dishes. This is a quick and lighter weeknight version of it!
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 4 medium-size Italian-style sausages (turkey, chicken or pork)
- 1 cup bread crumbs (I prefer panko bread crumbs because they are crunchier)
- 3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 3 14-oz cans white beans, rinsed and drained (cannelini or great northern) OR 5 cups home-cooked beans
- 2 cups chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- juice of 1 lemon
- handful of chopped parsley
- measuring cups
- large skillet
- wooden spoon
- cutting board and knife
- Drizzle a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and over medium heat, sauté the sausages so they are golden brown and crisp on each side, about 10 minutes. Then slice them thickly on the bias, or into small bite- size pieces . . . you can even leave them whole. Whatever makes you happy. Put them aside.
- In the same pan, sauté the bread crumbs, sage, 1 clove chopped garlic, and Parmesan until they are crunchy and golden brown. You might need to add a little olive oil. Put the bread crumbs aside as well.
- Wipe out the pan, add 2 more tablespoons olive oil, and sauté the onion until it is caramel-colored and has little crispy edges. Add the remaining garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary, stir for a moment, then add the wine and tomatoes, letting it all simmer for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the beans and chicken stock, then nestle the sausage into the pan among the beans. Let it all gently simmer until the sauce has evaporated a bit and the beans are lovely and creamy.
- Season with salt and pepper. Top with the bread crumbs, lemon juice, and a shower of parsley.
Serve with a simple mixed green salad and whole-grain mustard.
VEGGIE TIP: Leave out the sausage; instead, with the beans, stir in a big handful or two of greens—like escarole, chard or chopped kale—to make a beautiful rustic stew. Top with the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
This recipe is from Laurie David's book, The Family Dinner. She writes, "Cassoulet is one of the wonderful iconic French dishes. To make it takes lots of peering into cookbooks and hours spent poking in the kitchen. Here is a quick and lighter weeknight version of it. No, we cannot call it cassoulet—the French would be unhappy if we did—but we can call it delicious. We highly recommend doubling this recipe. It freezes beautifully, and you will be very happy to defrost it on a night you are too busy with life to cook."