Last week, I read a touching tribute to one amazing grandfather on Seek the Best Blog. When I mentioned my grandfather was also from the South, Lady G suggested that I share my family’s favorite meal and a little background behind it.
At the age of eight, I traveled with my relatives back to the South. It was a magical time on the family farm where my brother and I chased fireflies, drank sweet tea on the porch, and ate to our heart’s content. I remember the importance my grandfather bestowed on giving thanks for every meal. Though I miss him dearly, he taught me from humble beginnings comes great things.
Today, my father and I share a special love for Creole Cuisine. Southern Cassoulet combines southern comfort food with traditional French methods of slow-cooking beans. Serve with a tangy mustard, my grandfather’s favorite condiment, and you have food for the soul.
Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 3 hours
1 lb. dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 links of Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Grain Sausage
* traditionally, it’s made with Andouille sausage
2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
¾ c. panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Flat-leafed parsley, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
Creole or Dijon mustard for serving
1. In a large pot, combine the dried beans with 6 cups water. Let the beans soak overnight.
2. Drain water from beans and add 6 cups cold water. Heat to boiling on medium-high. Reduce the heat to simmering, and stir in the celery, garlic, onion, and green pepper. Cook the beans and veggies on a gentle simmer for a little over two hours, until the beans are very tender.
3.Grill the sausage and slice into bite-sized pieces. Add the sausage to beans and take off the heat.
4. Set oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the bean/sausage mixture to baking dish. In a small skillet, melt the butter on medium heat. Stir the breadcrumbs in the butter until golden brown. Spoon crumbs over bean mixture and bake for 35 minutes.
5. Chop parsley and green onions, and sprinkle over the baked casserole dish. Serve with your favorite mustard.