Our version of the classic French stew is made with boneless leg of lamb and turkey kielbasa. Let Lamb and Sausage Cassoulet cook slowly to allow the flavors to harmonize.
1 cup dried Great Northern beans
3 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces turkey kielbasa, chopped
1 slice bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped carrot (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon no-salt-added tomato paste
2 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons brandy
1 (2-ounce) piece French bread baguette
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Sort and wash beans; place in a large saucepan. Cover beans with 3 cups boiling water. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain; set beans aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle lamb evenly with pepper and salt. Add lamb to pan; sauté 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add lamb to beans.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Add sausage and bacon to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and next 3 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion mixture to bean mixture. Add tomato paste to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, 1 1/2 cups water, and brandy; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir bean mixture into broth mixture. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Uncover; bake 1 hour, uncovered.
Tear bread into small pieces. Combine torn bread and grated cheese in a food processor; process until coarse crumbs measure 2 cups. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over bean mixture. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and beans are tender. Sprinkle mixture with chopped fresh parsley.
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I used more sausage and bacon, and subbed duck for the lamb, by then, this recipe made enough for 12 servings. Granted we are not big eaters, but their serving size of 1 1/2 cups is very large for something this rich, and filling. Don't bother with the crumb topping, it just gets soggy, not brown and crunchy. And I cooked this 4 hours, and it really needed longer, the beans still weren't done to our liking.
We love this recipe, but made a few changes: we add a whole bag of beans, more turkey kielbasa and lamb, 1 tsp rosemary, all broth - no water and probably double the amount of brandy! The rosemary is the best addition! Also, when we add the cheese/bread crumbs, we broil it, it really does not need to cook longer.