Vegan Cassoulet… not

I’ve heard of cassoulet, but never had the opportunity to indulge. I came across a meatless version on, while looking for new and interesting things for dinner (cooking for a vegan and a vegetarian and an omnivore and a carnivore can be, well, challenging).

That recipe sounded like something I could do, maybe with some sausage on the side, and it would be even faster if I cheated and used canned beans. I decided to read a little bit about what the real thing was, and came across a Cassoulet cook-off at eGullet.

Oh. My. Goodness.
This stuff sounds amazing, and it also sounds like any vegan attempt at it would be a pure and utter insult.

However, I’d already gathered up the ingredients and started making the mushroom broth. I was committed, even if this was only going to be Katje’s Kountry Kassoulay. Let’s call it:

Navy Bean Stuff
2 T. margarine
1 1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped finely
One shallot, chopped finely
4 c. water
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 T. olive oil
3 cans navy beans, drained
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
3 T. tomato paste
1/2 c. red wine
Bay leaf
4 sprigs parsley
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme

Preheat oven to 350. Saute mushrooms in margarine, add shallot until transluscent, add water and simmer 1/2 hour.

Saute carrots, celery and onion in olive oil until soft.

Put beans in a dutch oven, mix in potatoes, tomato paste, red wine, herbs, softened vegetables, and enough of the mushroom broth to cover (I didn’t strain the broth, but you could). Bake uncovered for 1 hour.

Well, it turned out OK. I’d definitely go back to a longer cooking time, to allow the herbs more of a chance to soak in. I should be happy… everyone ate it and seemed to like it well enough, and that’s a feat in and of itself.

By the way, anyone out there know the 8-letter word that “bean soup” anagrams into?


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