As I’ve mentioned in a few of my previous posts, Operation Laundry Room (a renovation project of our laundry room) has been on a winding road due to having to replace our roof and my beloved’s accident when trimming a tree limb, which resulted in a compression fracture of his T12 vertebrae.
So to help us out, our eldest nephew and our dear son spent a Saturday doing such things as putting in insulation and completing wiring in the laundry room, repairing some steps outdoors, and a few other such tasks.
I, of course, would be feeding the crew, which would also include my mom, who has kindly been coming over and doing work in the plant beds that my beloved currently can’t do and that I don’t have the time or talent to do. :-)
I wanted to make something easy (minimal work from me so that I could go run any necessary errands for the guys or offer any other assistance), fuss-free, healthy, and plentiful so that the guys could eat as much as they wanted, but leftovers, if any, would be equally yummy.
Remembering that I had some smoked turkey sausage in my freezer (purchased on sale, of course!), I decided to bake up a batch of Easy Cassoulet.
If you don’t already know, Cassoulet is hearty, comforting French peasant dish. As Wikipedia tells us:
Cassoulet (French pronunciation: [ka.su.lɛ], from Occitan caçolet [kasuˈlet]) is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin (couennes) and white beans (haricots blancs).
Now, I am the first to tell you that I have not yet eaten a genuine cassoulet. As with any dish, there are countless variations, but from what I can gather, cassoulet is generally white beans slow-cooked with a variety of meats and is often topped with a layer of bread crumbs.
This recipe for Easy Cassoulet, which is inspired from my Big Red Betty Crocker Cookbook, is definitely not authentic.
But it is a yummy, healthy, easy-to-make, truly one-dish meal.
A variety of beans — black beans, kidney beans, and white (Navy, Great Northern, Cannellini — whatever you can get) — adds a depth of flavor to make up for the lack of variety of meats. Using smoked turkey sausage (or reduced-fat smoked beef sausage) reduces the fat and calories.
TIP ABOUT THE BEANS: Draining and rinsing the beans not only reduces the sodium, but it also reduces the gas-producing impact that beans tend to have on folks. ;-)
Using the convenience of tinned beans and tinned tomato sauce, the only time-consuming part of this dish is prepping the vegetables and slicing the sausage.
Vegetarians: Substitute a vegetarian option, such as Soyrizo or vegetarian Italian sausage, for the turkey sausage!
This smells — and tastes! — so yummy, you’ll want to pour yourself a glass of wine and pretend you’re in France, listening to French country music and dancing. :-)
Easy Cassoulet (Serves 6 to 8)
- 12 – 16 ounces Polish or smoked sausage, cut diagonally into 1/3″ or so pieces (I use smoked turkey sausage)
- 1 can (15-16 ounces) great northern beans (white beans), rinsed and drained (I used reduced sodium)
- 1 can (15-16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15-16 ounces) black beans, rinsed & drained (I used reduced sodium)
- 1 can (15 ounces) OR 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce (I used no-salt-added sauce)
- 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 small or 1 large onion(s), thinly sliced & separated into rings (I cut the onions in half, then into quarters, then slice)
- 2 cloves garlic (or more or less, to taste), finely chopped or garlic powder
- 1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
- Fresh or dried thyme leaves to taste (the recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried or 2 tablespoons of fresh; I just grabbed some from my herb garden and sprinkled some in to taste)
- Splash of Worcestershire sauce, if desired (Vegetarians: Leave out)
- Mix all ingredients in ungreased 3-quart casserole. Cover and bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours at 375F, until mixture is hot and bubbly and carrots are tender.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.
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