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Moderately Meaty Cassoulet

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“This variation on the French classic has just a little meat, from a smoked ham hock, allowing the flavor of the white beans to shine through. A recent examination by Cook's Illustrated showed that salting the beans from the beginning does NOT make them tough, and improves the flavor. Time does not include soaking time for beans. Adapted from a recipe in _Almost Meatless_ by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza, as reprinted at Serious Eats at”
3hrs 30mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place the beans in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon table salt (or 2 tablespoons kosher salt). Add cold water until beans are covered to a depth of 2". Let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse.
  2. Preheat oven to 250°F In a large Dutch oven, combine beans, ham shank, rosemary, thyme sprigs, intact onion half, garlic cloves, bay leaf and 8 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and transfer to the oven until beans are tender, about 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, trim the stem end of the garlic head. Coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap loosely in foil. Place in oven to roast alongside the beans.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the kielbasa and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, minced onion and minced thyme. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid and it has evaporated, and the onions are soft, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until the beans are done.
  5. When the beans are cooked, increase oven to 350°F Remove pot from oven, then remove and reserve the ham shank. Remove and discard the rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, onion half, garlic cloves, and bay leaf. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Place 1 1/2 cups of reserved cooking liquid in a saucepan (discard the rest). Reduce by half over medium heat.
  6. Carefully remove the garlic head from the foil, reserving any oil. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the cooked cloves into the reduced cooking liquid; mash, then whisk well to combine. Return this mixture to the beans.
  7. The meat from the ham bone may be shredded and added to the beans at this point, if desired. Add the mushroom-onion mixture to the beans. Stir well, then pack into a 9x13" casserole. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, then drizzle with reserved garlic oil (if there isn't enough, add plain olive oil). Bake uncovered in preheated oven 25 minutes. Increase heat to broil for 5 minutes to crisp the top before serving.

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