“It was one of those autumn evenings where the rain was coming down so hard that you could barely see through the raindrops on the window. All I wanted to do was wrap up in a big blanket next to the fireplace. But the night wouldn’t be complete without the perfect bowl of warm comfort food. What to make, what to make? I scoured some of my favorite recipe blogs and came across a picture of warm deliciousness. It was perfect. Mission Delectable had blogged about a similar rainy evening where this warming Vegetable Cassoulet fit the bill. And boy does it! Leeks, carrots, celery, thyme and rosemary simmering away with white beans and topped with bread crumbs… it warms with all the flavors of autumn. Perfect for those fireside nights. Delicious!”
Slightly Adapted from Mission Delectable
- 3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), rinsed and cleaned, halved lengthwise and cut into cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
- 3 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5-6 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed from stem
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced (about 3 sprigs)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp ground thyme
- 2 cups no-chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1-15 oz can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
- 4 cups cooked or canned cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained (If using dried beans, 2 cups of dried will equal about 4 cups cooked. 3 cans beans drained and rinsed should be about the right amount if using canned. It doesn’t have to be perfect measurements.)
- fresh parley leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- salt and pepper
- 1 rustic baguette
- 2-3 tablespoons melted vegan butter
- Heat a couple splashes of olive in a large pot of dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots, and celery, along with some salt and pepper (to taste). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Then add the garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring a few times. Next, add the beans, 2 cups of broth, fresh thyme and rosemary, bay leaf, ground thyme, and diced tomatoes along with all their juices. Stir to combine, and simmer covered over medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are soft and tender, and the cassoulet is rich and thick. If at any point you feel that the cassoulet is drying out, add some more both. However, the cassoulet should be very thick—not watery or even with a soup-like consistency. Remove the bay leaf and taste for seasonings, and season with salt and pepper (to taste).
- While the cassoulet is simmering away, make your breadcrumbs. Tear the baguette into pieces, and toss in a food processor. Process until coarse crumbs are formed then lay out about 3-4 cups of the crumbs on a large rimmed baking sheet and reserve the remaining breadcrumbs for another use. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over breadcrumbs, along with a pinch of salt. Toss the crumbs until they are lightly coated in the butter. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, tossing them once or twice with a spatula, until golden brown. Set aside.
- Divide the cassoulet among bowls. Top with a handful of breadcrumbs and fresh, chopped parsley leaves. Enjoy by a warm fire!