Beringer wines.

Simple Cassoulet From Beringer Wines

This classic, French “peasant” stew is loaded with flavor and even improves when made a day ahead of time. There are much more labor-intensive recipes, but we think you’ll find this simplified version to possess everything you need—ideal for casual entertaining or weekend cooking in preparation for a busy week ahead. Pair the cassoulet with our Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a simple salad, and some crusty bread; there are few meals more satisfying on a cold winter’s night.

CASSOULET (From Beringer Vineyards Executive Chef David Frakes)

6 high-quality, mild Italian sausages (about 1.5-2 lb. total)
2-4 T. olive oil
3 small onions
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 smoked ham shank (1-1.5 lb. cut into 2-3 pieces, if possible)
1 3/4 c. dried beans, soaked or 3 cans (15 oz. ea.) of white beans such as Great Northern or cannellini*
1 T. herbs de Provence
1 t. salt
freshly-cracked pepper
28 oz. canned or fresh tomatoes, chopped (juices reserved)
2 T. tomato paste
6 whole cloves
4 c. or more low-sodium chicken stock + additional if needed
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut sausages into 1/2 inch round slices. Heat 2 T. oil in a large, ovenproof pot. Add the sausages in stages, being careful to not crowd the pan and cook over medium-heat til evenly browned. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve. If needed, add another 2 T. of olive oil to the same pan. Chop two of the onions into 1/2 inch pieces (leaving the third whole for later) add to pot and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another 5-10 minutes, til onions are soft and golden brown. Drain beans of their soaking liquid and rinse. Add beans, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper, tomatoes (along with any juices) and tomato paste to onion mixture. Sauté 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stick 6 cloves into the outside of the remaining whole (peeled) onion and add to pot along with the ham shank and enough chicken stock to cover. Bring mixture to a boil, cover and bake at 350° for 1-1 1/2 hours, til beans are tender.

When ready to serve, remove onion with cloves. If desired, remove shank pieces, trim off meat, and mix back into cassoulet. Taste before seasoning with additional salt and pepper. The ham shank will have contributed significant salt.

(serves 10-12)


*Canned beans are fine—and much faster—for this recipe, but soaking dried beans overnight will provide a more pronounced texture and flavor.

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recipe is published in our May, 2009 Menu Minder, Issue #307.