Cassoulet is a hearty, traditional bean casserole from the southwest of France that is rich in goose or duck confit, pork sausages and other meats. Our version is vegan, which is much lighter so suitable for a summer meal. To make the traditional version, simply add the meat and confit of your choice. Better to leave the meat version for January 9, National Cassoulet Day!
Vegan Cassoulet in a 10" Le Fanion Hearty Pottery Gratin Dish
You will need on hand:
Le Fanion Hearty Pottery 10” gratin dish (call 212-463-8760 to order)
1 lb of Flageolet beans
2 celery stalks
1/2 lb large Shitaki mushrooms
2 heads of garlic
1/2 lb blue fingerling potatoes
extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions
sea salt and ground black pepper
filtered or spring water
Prepare the beans:
Wash the beans in a strainer making sure to remove any stones or twigs. Place them in a medium sauce pan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring the beans to a boil then turn off heat and let stand for one hour. Drain and discard the broth. Carefully place the beans back into the pan, covering them with 1 inch of water. Bring the beans to a boil and cook for one half hour on low heat. Drain and this time conserve the broth.
Prepare additional vegetable broth:
Cut off the stems of the shitaki mushrooms and chop them into small pieces, setting the caps aside. Cut off the leafy tops of the celery and chop into small pieces. Cut one onion into quarters. Break off and peel two small cloves of garlic. Place the onions, celery tops, chopped mushroom stems and garlic into a small sauce pan filled with water. Season with salt and pepper. Boil on low heat for an hour or so.
Prepare the roasted vegetables:
Cut the celery stalks into 1" pieces then quarter the onion and place them along with the mushroom caps and whole potatoes into a baking dish. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and roast in oven for one hour at 350 degrees until golden brown, basting them every 20 minutes. Shut off the oven and take the roasted vegetables out. Leave the oven open to help it cool down!
Prepare the Cassoulet:
Warm the 10" size gratin dish by running it under warm water for a few minutes. Dry it and cover the bottom with olive oil. Place a layer of the cooked beans half way up the gratin. Arrange the roasted vegetables on top of the first layer of beans along with the cooked vegetables from the broth if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the vegetable layer with the remaining beans, filling the gratin to the top. Add some of the vegetable stock to the empty roasting pan, making the broth more flavorful with the roasted vegetable remnants and pour over the cassoulet. The beans should be covered with liquid, so use the vegetable broth first then the bean broth and after spring water if needed. Drizzle olive oil onto cassoulet and season with salt and pepper.
Do Not Preheat the Oven!
Place the gratin into the oven. Set the oven to 350 F and let cook for one and a half hours. Leave the gratin in the oven and let cool so as not to crack the gratin. Top off the cassoulet with the bean broth (water if no broth is left) to cover the beans and refrigerate overnight. Add broth or water again to cover the beans the day after.
About two hours before the meal, place the cassoulet in a cold oven. Set to 350 F and cook for one hour. Break up the remaining garlic cloves keeping the skins intact and arrange on top of the Cassoulet and continue cooking at 350 F for another half hour. Turn off the oven. Leave the Cassoulet in the oven until it cools down a while so the flavors mix, and serve.
Be careful to not put the gratin on a cold surface so it doesn't crack --you might place it on a folded towel, for example. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins onto each serving. Enjoy!
click here for a printable PDF version of the recipe