Vegan White Bean Cassoulet, my culinary bastard!!!

I came up in the restaurant business at the time when fancy fine dining was transitioning from continental French to contemporary American cuisines. This transition basically allowed Americans to bastardize every ethnic cuisine, steal ethnic culinary terms and ingredients, and call it fusion!!! This ultimately led to the use of culinary terms to make menus sound good rather than to accurately describe what was cooked or served. In general, traditional culinary terms have been hijacked as a way to "fancy" up menus rather than to accurately describe the actual cooking process in a way that would provide insight to the diner.
That being said.... Here is my little bastard!!!
Vegan White Bean Cassoulet... Click on the link and you will find that a true cassoulet is not vegan other than the beans, and believe it or not I do not actually own a cassoulet (the traditional deep earthenware pot), I also do not add an unsavory meaty confit. I do like the texture of white beans, flavored with richly reduced sauteed vegetables, with a hint of smokiness!!
The reason I call it a cassoulet is that I made carrot, onion, celery and garlic confit, which I added to the white northern beans. I made this particular cassoulet for a vegan potluck so it was huge batch, I used one of those restaurant sized cans that is as big as your head.
Here's a smaller batch recipe:
Start by making a winter vegetable confit -
  • 1 yellow onion, small dice
  • 4 stalks of celery, small dice
  • 4 carrots, small dice
  • 6 teeth of garlic, minced, or pressed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Take the vegetables and stir over medium heat until the onions begin to soften, then turn up heat to medium and stop stirring, when the bottom starts to brown stir again, repeat this process until about half of the mixture shows browning at the edges. The browning and reduction of flavors is what qualifies this to be considered confit in my book.
Add the mixture above to white beans, I used 4 cans of beans because I was in a hurry, but you could cook a pound of beans it you are so inclined.
Add the following to finish the cassoulet:
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • fresh cracked pepper at the table
For a garnish I made parsley pesto to go with it.... dang... I slipped and used another often bastardized culinary term... more on pesto in the next post!!!!

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3 comments:

Mo said...

This sounds amazing. Thank you, Andre! I think some white beans will be soaking tonight :)

Anonymous said...

This was fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! Should there be a liquid in the ingredients? (I added around two cups of stock. Was that close?)

SHIFTvegan said...

Anon...
For this particular recipe I did not add a liquid because I wanted it to be thick, but liquid is always welcome.
Sometimes I will add no chick stock and then use my potato masher to mash some of the beans which thickens the the soup a bit, then top with baco-bits. That presentation reminds me of ham and white bean soup from a can.... one of my childhood favorites.

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