Since this is in fact vegetarian, it is a stretch to call it a cassoulet. I’ve used white beans, finished it with a buttery crumb topping and for the first time ever cooked my beans entirely in the oven, so perhaps we could just say that is inspired by a cassoulet. Heavily. We can also say of this baked bean dish that it is absolutely delicious. If I could have this every day I might be persuaded to give up meat. Maybe. Except for bacon.
Thyme Roasted Zucchini and Carrot Cassoulet
1 lb great northern, cannellini or navy beans
1 cup mirepoix
1/2 leek, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons minced Italian (flat leaf) parsley
32 ounces vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon thyme leaves + 5 sprigs
2 zucchini, sliced into 1" thick pieces
4 small carrots, in 1" slices
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 Tablespoons butter
Soak the beans covered in 6 - 8 cups cold water a minimum of 8 hours. Preheat oven to 450. Strip 3 thyme sprigs of leaves and discard stems. Melt the 1 Tablespoon butter. Toss the zucchini and carrots with butter and thyme, salt and pepper and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lay two remaining thyme sprigs in the center. Roast for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Turn oven down to 325.
In a dutch oven or similar pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Add mirepoix, leeks, parsley, thyme and a little salt and pepper. Cook until translucent (3 minutes). Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, one minute. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add wine to deglaze. Scrape to get the caramelized bits off of the bottom. Cook for 5 minutes. Add stock, drained beans, chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and water to cover beans. Cover pot and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Meanwhile, make the crumb topping: melt butter and combine with breadcrumbs and thyme, a small touch of salt and pepper. Carefully remove dutch oven, and mix in roasted zucchini and carrots. Turn the heat up to 350. Top with a layer of breadcrumbs and return to the oven uncovered. Bake until the breadcrumbs turn golden (approx 15 - 20 minutes).