There’s nothing better than walking into your house after a long day and knowing that dinner is already made. That’s the beauty of slow cookers. Throw everything in, walk away and then something magical emerges eight hours later. Ever since I was in college, when I tried a French peasant stew called cassoulet (loosely translated “casserole” in French but there ain’t no canned beans and cream of mushroom soup in there), I’ve been on the hunt for an easy, hands-off recipe reminiscent of The First Time. I finally figured it out. I started with a vegetarian version from Cooking Light Magazine, tossed in some alternative ingredients like bacon and spicy pork sausage (my husband is a die-hard meat-etarian) and a star recipe was born. Since I like you guys, I thought I’d share. It might look
like a lot of ingredients but it didn’t take that long to put together.
Slow Cooker White Bean Cassoulet
Hands on time: 20-25 minutes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups carrots, 1/2 inch thick slices (I used the pre-cut little ones and cut them in half)
1 cup 1/2-inch thick slices of parsnip (don’t skip this)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans great northern or cannellini beans
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2- 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 slices of bacon
1/4 cup Italian-style dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (don’t skimp with canned — won’t be the same)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Spicy pork sausages, cooked and sliced 1/4 thick
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (optional)
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, parsnip and garlic. Cover and cook 5 minutes.
2. Place vegetables in a 5-quart slow cooker. Add beans and next 7 ingredients (through bacon). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, add sliced sausage and allow to cook 30 minutes.
4. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and butter in a small bowl. Mix until blended. Stir into bean mixture. When serving, sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
Turn this back to vegetarian omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth and meatless sausage.