Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Comfort Food Take Two

Ah, Paris in the Spring...with this meal one can imagine dining at a cozy little French bistro. Pour some good table red, toss a simple salad and try this hearty French classic. Passport not required. This version is simplified (thanks again to the Real Simple foodies) but my American taste buds don't mind.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tomato, chopped, or one 8-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 15-ounce cans of great Northern, cannellini, or navy beans, drained and rinsed
5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the sausage until well browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Remove and drain on paper towels; set aside. Pour out the excess oil from the Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth, vegetables, beans, thyme, salt, pepper, a third of the garlic, and the sausage and return to heat. Mix well, scraping up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour, until thickened and the vegetables are tender. Heat oven to 400° F. In a bowl, combine the bread-crumbs, parsley, butter, and remaining garlic. Sprinkle evenly over the cassoulet and place in the oven. Bake, uncovered, until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

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