Thursday, March 29, 2012

Upscale Beanie Weenies

We all tend to overindulge during the holidays, then we must pay our penance in the New Year. But if you manage to survive all of the light/lo-cal/nonfat/healthy dishes featured on cooking magazines and on the Food Network in January, your endurance will be rewarded with all-chocolate recipes in February, and--please God--we'll all be back to comfort food by March!

Bon Appétit did a feature this month where they remade some of our favorite homespun dishes. I really want to try the Hoisin-Glazed Meatloaf, a Bahn Mi(t)loaf, if you will. But another recipe jumped out at me. It was called Chorizo and Gigante Bean Cassoulet, which was basically an uptown version of franks and beans with a Spanish twist. Ultimately, it turned out to be a very good dish, but I have some tips for you (as is my way):

1) Be advised that this recipe will take almost four hours to complete even if you pre-soak the beans, so either save it for a Sunday afternoon or enlist the help of your trusty crock pot.
2) Do NOT go by the recipe on the amount of time to cook your beans, as I went with the low end, and my gigante beans nearly disinegrated! I ended up having to cook some cannellini beans on the side and add them to the sauce to fix the mess I'd made. Thus, check your beans as they are simmering, and pull them as soon as they are just tender, as there's still a lot of cooking time to go after that.
3) Do NOT be tempted to substitute regular paprika for smoked. In my opinion, it is the defining flavor in this dish!
4) I only used a pound of sausage, which I thought was plenty--but maybe that's because I had extra beans.
5) Lastly, for the bread crumb topping, I toasted up some panko in olive oil and butter in a skillet, added the parsley and lemon zest and called it a day!

Chorizo and Gigante Bean Cassoulet
Source: Bon Appétit, March 2012
Yield: Makes 8 servings

3 cups dried gigante, corona, or large lima beans
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
8 fresh Spanish chorizo or hot Italian sausage links (About 2 pounds)
1 leek (white and pale-green parts only), cut into 1/4"-thick rounds
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained, crushed with your hands
7 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary

Breadcrumb topping:
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups fresh coarse breadcrumbs (from three 1/2"-thick slices white sandwich bread)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Ingredient Info: Fresh Spanish chorizo, a link sausage that’s milder than Mexican chorizo, can be found at specialty foods stores, Spanish markets, and (try hot or mild). Smoked paprika is available at most supermarkets.

For beans and chorizo:
Place beans in a large pot and cover with water by 3". Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

Drain beans. Add fresh water to cover by 3". Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender but not mushy, 1 1/2-2 hours (time will vary depending on size and age of beans). Drain, reserving 1 cup bean broth.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until golden all over, 7-8 minutes. Transfer chorizo to a plate and set aside.
Place 2 tablespoons oil, leek, and onion in same pot. Season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and light golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and anchovies; stir 1 minute to break down anchovies. Add tomato paste and paprika; stir constantly until paste is caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add reserved 1 cup bean broth, beans, chicken broth, and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil.

Cover and bake until beans are very tender, about 30 minutes. Add chorizo (and any accumulated juices) to pot, pressing to submerge. Bake until liquid is reduced and slightly thickened, 40-45 minutes longer.

For breadcrumb topping:
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Add bread- crumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over beans and drizzle with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Bake cassoulet until breadcrumbs are browned and liquid is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes. Sprinkle parsley and lemon zest over just before serving.

1 comment:

Robert Richards Recipes said...

This looks really good and I'm excited to give it a try!

Thanks for posting it!