Modern Spanish Cassoulet

The history of cassoulet is a history of Languedoc. One legend places the birth of cassoulet during the siege of Castelnaudary by the Black Prince, Edward the Prince of Wales, in 1355. The besieged townspeople gathered their remaining food to create a big stew cooked in a cauldron. The little town of Castelnaudary, in the Lauragais area of Aude, is the capital of cassoulet. This famous culinary specialty of the south-west, the family meal of choice, goes back to the Middle Ages and is one of the most widely-enjoyed dishes in France!

A cassoulet is a traditional French dish that is made with a variety of meats and baked white beans. The name comes from its cooking pot, the cassole d’Issel. As with many dishes, a cassoulet has humble beginnings, and was once the simple fare of farmers and rural country folk, but soon was discovered by the citizens of Paris and was elaborated upon to become a rich and complex dish. By the 19th century, this simple rustic dish found its way to the elites of Paris and gained in popularity as a delicious dish that was enjoyed by all, rich or poor.

Since Spain borders Southern France, it only makes sense that the two counties share a lot of similarities in their foods too. There are probably just as many versions of cassoulets found in Northern Spain as there are in Southern France, that are very similar and just as good, with their own Spanish personalities. I love both Spanish and French food, as well as both of their cultures, though I have a slight preference for the Spanish. I made my own version of a Spanish styled cassoulet that was a perfect dish for a cold, chilly night. I served it with my cheesy onion bread Cheesy Onion And Bacon Bread and a big, bold cabernet on the side. !Delicioso!

Since a cassoulet is traditionally a very rustic dish, it is usually comprised of whatever meats and/or sausages that are on hand at the time. I was inspired by a dish I made along time ago, that was similar, but was more of a tapas dish. This time, however, I was looking to making it more of a meal rather than simply tapas. Sausage Cooked in Red Wine I made it with some leftover ham, Andouille sausage and a spicy chicken sausage that I cooked in a red wine and vegetable sauce. I admit, I cheated on the beans, and used canned beans rather than cooking them from scratch. Canned beans are always a welcomed ingredient and fantastic time saver. 🙂

Modern Spanish Cassoulet

2 lbs of various sausages, sliced

1/2 lb- 1 lb of cooked ham

1 cup pumpkin, peeled and diced

2 cups tomatoes, diced

1-2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, diced

1 1/2-2 cups red wine

1 1/2-2 cups beef broth

2 TBSP garlic

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste

4-5 fresh thyme sprigs

1 TBSP fresh sage, chiffonade or cut into very thin strips

1-2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed

Cook the onions, garlic, pumpkin, red pepper flakes and mushrooms in olive oil until tender, then add the wine and bring to a boil.

Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil once again, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 30-40 minutes or until all the meats are cooked and everything is tender. Since I used canned beans, I just cooked those separately and served my stew on top of them. If you are cooking your beans from scratch, cook your beans according to the directions on the package first, then add them to your stew at this point, as a time saver. You can certainly do it the “old fashioned way” too and cook everything all together, but you had better prepare to be in the kitchen for quite some time if you are going to do it this way. Why be a slave to the stove when time is precious?

I served it over the cooked beans with my cheesy onion bacon bread and a bold cab on the side for a perfectly rustic, warm Spanish meal on a cold, chilly night. This warm dish certainly helped to take the chill out of the air and warmed us up from the inside out.

Stay warm, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

15 thoughts on “Modern Spanish Cassoulet”

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