English meets French – cassoulet inspired white bean stew on toast


To some Americans, this might sound like an unlikely combination.

Many English folk are fond of this snack, generally served using Heinz baked beans on white bread.

Before you raise an eyebrow-let me tell you why this combination rocks.

Those who might be meat-free, or flirting with the idea of consuming less meat may be familiar with black bean burgers. Sure, they’re a great idea in theory…but unfortunately, many recipes wind up tasting bland and dry. Other recipes rely on high-fat components such as rich mayonnaise or cheeses to make up for the lackluster texture. This is not the case with a saucy plate of beans on toast.

Cassoulet is a traditional slow-simmered French stew of white beans, duck and sausage. I had a hankering for something resembling cassoulet, but the average cassoulet takes up to 12 hours. I took a few shortcuts and used a can of white beans, home made chicken stock (which already contains many of the flavors typically used in cassoulet) and home made roasted garlic in oil for extra roast-y flavor. I will be featuring my methods for both stock and roasted garlic in soon-to-come posts.

In case you couldn’t tell, I adore eating just about anything on toast. I imagine my tapas-eating Spanish ancestors have passed this preference down to me. Today’s combination of a bean stew on top of toast hits all of the notes-crisp, creamy, rich and ironically…light at the same time.

I am quite fond of highly customizable kitchen-sink type recipes. Today I used thick slices of leftover bread, home made chicken stock, diced carrot, celery, roasted garlic in oil, white beans and Portuguese sausage. Just about any kind of meat or vegetable can be used, or it can be left out altogether.

Here is my non-recipe for white bean stew on toast. Why do I call it a non-recipe? Because these really aren’t hard rules and it can be customized to anyone’s palate.

White Bean Stew on Toast

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium carrot, diced

2 medium celery stalks, diced

5-inch log of pre-cooked Portuguese sausage, finely diced

2 Tbsp roasted garlic in oil, or 3 finely diced garlic cloves + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1.5 cups chicken stock

1 15.5 oz can of white beans, any variety, drained and rinsed

Thick-cut slices of bread, toasted

In a small saucepan, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the carrot and celery. Stir until softened.

Add the sausage and stir to combine. Heat through for 5 minutes.

Add the roasted garlic in oil or finely diced garlic cloves + oil, along with the stock. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Add the beans, and simmer 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy, thick consistency.

Spoon onto hearty slices of toast.

Tomorrow I will be featuring my method to roasting a perfect batch of mellow, soft, sweet garlic cloves in oil. They are amazing in this dish, on sandwiches, in pasta or even slathered right onto crusty bread.

2 thoughts on “English meets French – cassoulet inspired white bean stew on toast

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