Mark Bittman writes the Minimalist column for The New York Times. His latest is The Food Matters Cookbook. Mark has adopted a "less-meat-arianism" approach to eating where he is essentially vegan before 6 pm.
Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb Italian sausages, bone-in pork chops, confit duck legs, or duck breasts, or a combination
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 leeks or onions, trimmed, washed, and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium zucchinis or 1 small head green cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chopped tomatoes, with their juice (canned are fine)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
4 cups cooked white beans (canned are OK), drained and liquid reserved in any case
2 cups stock, dry red wine, bean cooking liquid, or water, plus more as needed
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the meat, and cook, turning as needed, until the meat is deeply browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Turn the heat to medium and add the garlic, leeks or onions, carrots, celery, and zucchini or cabbage; and sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their liquid, the reserved meat, and the herbs and bring to a boil. Add the beans; bring to a boil again, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but continuously. Cook for about 20 minutes, adding the liquid when the mixture gets thick and the vegetables are melting away.
Fish out the meat and remove the bones and skin as needed. Chop into chunks and return to the pot along with the cayenne. Cook another minute or two to warm through, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.
Music Break: Dînette by Adrien Moignard