Relax and enjoy a Southern dish for Sunday supper
Thank goodness for Sundays. On Sundays, we can dial down the pace of life a few degrees, take our time and enjoy simple pleasures. Sundays are for slow-cooked foods, dishes that need a good simmer on the stove and not too much more.
A hearty cassoulet, a sumptuous combination of meat and beans, will never be referred to as haute cuisine. While it may lack grandeur, its rustic charm has earned it a cherished place among cooks the world over. This recipe combines two classic Southern ingredients, andouille sausage and fresh Gulf shrimp.
Gulf Shrimp, Andouille and White Bean Cassoulet
1 pound navy beans beans soaked overnight
5 bay leaves, divided
Creole seasoning, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Hot sauce, to taste
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
11⁄2 cups shredded Parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (no stems)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 pounds medium wild caught Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
Add the navy beans, three bay leaves and Creole seasoning to taste to a large pot. Fill with enough water to cover the beans by 3 inches. Bring the pot to a boil and cook, adding additional water as necessary, until beans are soft, about 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the andouille and cook until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, celery, garlic, oregano and Creole seasoning to taste and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
Crush the tomatoes with your hands before adding them to the pot. Add the remaining 2 bay leaves, Worcestershire, beans, thyme, green onions and a few dashes of hot sauce.
Pour in the chicken broth, stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans have absorbed most of the broth, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, thyme leaves, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Add shrimp to the pot, and cook until thoroughly pink, about 8 minutes. Top with breadcrumb mixture or divide the cassoulets among individual oven-safe ramekins and top with mixture. Place under broiler and cook until lightly golden, 3-4 minutes.
Alicia Cahill is the owner of The Kitchen Chick, 2402 Market St. in Galveston.