Chickpea Cassoulet with Basil, Parsley and Thyme

Chickpea in coulet By Tina May garbanzo coulet 006

Photo credit: Tina May

Cassoulet the peasant stew from southern France, has many versions but all contain beans with herbs and breadcrumbs. Traditionally,  cooked in a cassole, a round glazed earthen pot, this dish is a baked stew and while  somewhat time-consuming, the fusions of tastes and smells are wonderful and guaranteed to take the chill off a winter day.

At the High5Kitchen I prepare our breadcrumbs with 100% whole wheat bread mixed with basil,  parsley, thyme, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. You will want to bypass breadcrumbs purchased at the market once you’ve checked out the typical ingredients used and make the High5Kitchen Semmelbrösel/ Breadcrumbs.

I dislike rushing when I am cooking so the first thing I do is collect all the ingredients, then wash and rinse produce and chopped, mince, dice as needed, setting each aside on my cutting board. Then I go to work. This dish requires preparing a stew, sauce and topping. You will need a soup pot (which can double for the sauce), a skillet and a two-quart oven proof baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Serves 4
Asterisks (*) indicate suggested substitutions.

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • Yellow Onion………….. 2 medium (1 whole & 1 chopped)
  • Carrots……………………….. 1 1/2 cup chopped

Fruits

  • Tomatoes, plum ………. 2-4  chopped or 2 cups

Whole Grains

Beans/Legumes

  • 2 ½ cups of cooked, drained chickpeas

Nuts/Seeds/Herbs & Spices

  • Flax seed…………………… 2 T freshly ground
  • Italian Parsley, fresh ………. 1 cup chopped
  • Garlic cloves……………………….. 4 minced
  • Cloves………………………………….. 3 whole
  • Italian parsley………………… 2 sprigs + ½ cup chopped
  • Basil……………………………… 1T chopped fresh (1 t dried)
  • Thyme………………………… 1 T chopped fresh (1t dried)
  • Black Peppercorns………… freshly ground to taste
  • Pinch of salt

Liquids

  • Tomato sauce …………  1 ½ cups  (homemade or purchased in glass container)
  • Olive oil, extra virgin from California …………. 1-2 tbsp (*or to taste)
  • Juice of lemon…………… fresh squeezed 1-3 tbsp
  • Pinch of sea salt

Preparations

1.  To make chickpea stew: Push cloves into whole onion and place in a large pot with chopped carrots, 2 minced garlic cloves, parsley sprigs and cooked chickpeas. Cover with an inch or so of water and gently cook until carrots are tender yet firm (about 15-20 minutes).

2. Drain and reserve liquid (save onion with cloves and parsley sprigs for homemade vegetable broth or discard in compost pile) and set chickpea mixture aside.

3. To make sauce: heat 2t olive oil in skillet on medium heat only (smoke point) and add chopped onion, remaining minced garlic clove and sauté until onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Then transfer to pot and add

  • tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of reserved chickpea cooking liquid
  • lemon juice 1T
  • chopped tomatoes
  • dried herbs (basil and thyme). If using fresh herbs, do not add until the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 45 minutes to an hour then remove pot from heat and set aside.

4.  To prepare topping

  •  Use same skillet, heat 2 t olive oil on medium heat and add 1/3 of the bread crumbs and all the chopped parsley.
  • Cook stirring until golden—about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and add the remaining bread crumbs and fresh ground flax-seed. Set topping aside.

5.  To bake cassoulet

  • Place chickpea mixed with sauce in oven proof baking dish, top with 1/3 crumb topping and bake for 15 minutes.
  • With back of spoon, push bread crumbs into the chickpea mixture and add 1/3 breadcrumb topping and bake another 15 minutes.
  • With back of spoon, push crumbs into mixture and add remaining crumbs. Bake an additional 10 minutes, then place cassoulet under broil and brown. (Watch carefully as this takes less than 5 minutes and varies considerably with individual ovens).

Serve immediately.
Things to consider:

I like to make this dish in the winter, when it’s raining or snowing and I’m forced in doors. The rich, earthy smells of garlic and onions and herbs fill the kitchen and warm a winter day but I miss the fresh tomatoes of summer. To compensate I use tomatoes from the garden, which I have frozen as I prefer them to canned or winter tomatoes from the market.  Here are a few things you can do.

1.  Use two cups of frozen tomatoes in the sauce, leave the skins on (for nutrient benefits of skins) and blend with an immersion blender.

2. Make the bread crumbs ahead of time from old bread or bread scraps that you have saved.

3. Prepare stew and sauce at the same time (while toasting bread crumbs if they are not premade). Instead of using the reserve liquid from the chickpeas, use vegetable broth.

4. Make extra sauce and freeze it.

5. Soak chickpeas the night before and cook with the stew mix, adding the carrots during the last twenty minutes. For homemade chickpeas visit High5Kitchen 101 review.

6. If you love garlic, consider adding 8 smashed garlic cloves to the chickpea mix before baking!

Enjoy!

Related High5Kitchen Links on Chickpeas

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