RECIPE: This cheater’s cassoulet is pure winter comfort food

Weeknight Cassoulet
(Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Combined ShapeCaption
Weeknight Cassoulet (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

If you’re looking for an authentic cassoulet, this is not it. There’s no confit, the beans come from a can, and the typical long braise is replaced with a quick stovetop simmer.

However, the spirit of the dish — a comforting stew of beans and pork, finished with a crisp top — remains intact. It’s perfect for a simple back-to-work dish on a cold evening, served with a bit of salad and plenty of bread for mopping up the juices.

Start with a bag of frozen chopped onions to decrease the prep time. You don’t even need to thaw them first — just add to a hot pan, coated in olive oil, and cook until they’re thawed and softened. Add a pound of garlicky pork sausages, like bratwurst, cut into bite-size pieces, along with a couple of cans of drained beans and a glug of chicken broth. Simmer this mixture until the sausage is cooked through and the beans are flavorful.

While the stew cooks, stir together panko breadcrumbs and a bit more oil for the topping. Add a very generous coating of the breadcrumb mixture into a thick layer over the stew. Some of the breadcrumbs will fall into the stew and thicken it up, while the top bits will stay dry and ready to be crisped until golden brown under the broiler.

And with that, after less than a 20-minute cook time, your sort-of cassoulet is finished, ready to be served straight from the skillet.

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Weeknight Cassoulet
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen chopped onions, unthawed
  • 1 pound raw garlicky pork sausages, such as bratwurst, sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, drained
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • On the side: Mixed green salad and crusty bread
  • Heat a broiler to high with a rack set in the position closest to the heating element.
  • Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook until they have thawed and turned translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the sliced sausages and beans and stir to combine. Add the broth, bring to simmer, and cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sausage is fully cooked, 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  • Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl.
  • Once the sausage is cooked, remove the lid and cover the top of the mixture with the breadcrumbs. Remove from the heat, transfer to the broiler and cook until the breadcrumbs are well browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Serve hot, straight from the skillet, with salad and bread on the side. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 797 calories (percent of calories from fat, 53), 37 grams protein, 57 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fiber, 47 grams total fat (13 grams saturated), 98 milligrams cholesterol, 1,066 milligrams sodium.
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