Sausage & White Bean Stew
You have seen this type of bean stew here many times before.
It's the best cold weather dinner and is very simple to put together.
A traditional cassoulet uses duck legs w/ Toulouse sausage, but we are not in France right now, and all I have in the house is Italian sausage......
I suggest you find a good butcher and make friends with him (or her).
I buy the best quality homemade sausage from a local Italian butcher, the same goes for my meats and chickens.
If you can't know the farmer personally, you can certainly make friends with a butcher, even if he is the guy behind your supermarket meat counter.
This is a delicious hearty dish, makes a lot, so is good for leftovers the next day too.
Feel free to add some leftover chicken thighs to the mix.
Sausage & Bean Cassoulet:
1 lb. good quality spicy Italian sausages
1 large onion, cut into thick pieces
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 fennel (anise) bulb, sliced
pint of cherry tomatoes, halved (or canned cherry tomatoes)
handful of fresh thyme
1 cup of chicken stock
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
kosher salt & pepper
1 cup of dried breadcrumbs for the top
Preheat oven to 375F.
You can brown the sausage first if you like, but I just throw it all in a big Dutch oven coated w/ olive oil and cook it all together.
Cook everything (including the tomatoes) until the pink is out of the sausage, and the onions and fennel are wilted, about 15 minutes on the stove.
Add in the beans and the stock with the fresh thyme and simmer for 5 minutes.
Top the stew with the toasted breadcrumbs (I do this in a frying pan with olive oil) and place the pot, uncovered, in a 375F oven.
Bake the cassoulet for 30 minutes, until the top is nice and brown and all the liquid is absorbed.