Cassoulet, contemporary lighter verison
- 1 1/2 cup dried cannellini beans
- EVOO, as needed
- 1 medium onion, ciced or 2-3 leeks, white only, cleaned and chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, small dice
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2-3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable) or flavors of frying spice blend-flavored water
- salt, pepper, coriander for taste
- 1-4 teaspoons preserved lemon, rinsed, dried, minced
- 1 - 2 tablespoons finely minced Italian flat leaf parsley
- 1 recipe of buttery bread crumbs for topping, optional
Prepare dried beans 24 hours in advance: Dried cannellini beans require a “soak” step; we prefer a “brine-soak” using heavily salted water (3 Tablespoons salt to 1 gallon water). Once soaked, rinse thoroughly and proceed with the recipe for cooking.
For preparing cassoulet: Place EVOO into a deep pot or dutch oven. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook to develop their flavors but do not brown, about 12-15 minutes on medium heat. Add reserved the soaked beans. Cover with stock or flavored water and cook 30-40 minutes or until al dente (still a little firm to the tooth). If using previously cooked, cooled, or canned beans, when the onion celery carrot mixture is translucent, add the beans and heat them through. Just before serving add the minced preserved lemon and chopped parsley. Top with bread crumbs if using
To prepare bread crumb topping:
Blend 2 tablespoons butter, melted, with 1 1/2 cup day old bread crumbs finely minced and 1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Place on baking sheet in thin layer and bake 375, stirring occasionally, until toasted and evenly brown. Cool before reserving to use for garnish.