When I saw that recipe in my Fine Cooking magazine I thought about it for a second and realized there is NO WAY I could ever make that within our grocery budget and with 4 kids constantly interrupting me. Not going to happen. Cooking is like therapy to me, but there's a fine line between good therapy and overpaying someone to stress you out.
So Cassoulet goes on the back burner along with Classic Beef Wellington and Croquembouche and a few other recipes I have stashed away for when my kids have all grown and moved out of the house.
For this recipe, I just sort of used the inspiration of Cassoulet and did it with what I had on hand and it was delicious. Pair it with a baguette to soak up the juices and it's the perfect dinner for a cold evening. Oh, and I totally made it in the crock pot because I wanted to try making beans in the crock pot, so it was even that much simpler and dried beans make it even cheaper so I had the extra money to buy the GOOD baguette and a bottle of Cabernet to go along with it. Mmmmmm....comfort food at it's best.
Crockpot White Beans with Kielbasa and Spinach
8 oz dried white cannelini beans, picked through and soaked overnight
1 small yellow onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (I was out this time so used 1 tsp dried)
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or make your own!), enough to cover beans by 1"
1 large Kielbasa ring or smoked sausage - I think it's about 1 lb, (how do you call this out on a recipe? I have no idea)
8 oz spinach (or, if you buy it in bags, I think they come in 6 oz bags?) - chopped
olive oil - a little for sweating the onion/garlic, a little for a final drizzle
- Heat olive oil in small pan over medium heat - add onion and cook, 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute or two. De-glaze pan with a little of the broth and transfer to a crock-pot set on high.
- Add white beans, remaining broth, thyme, rosemary and black pepper. Cover and cook on high, 4 hours. (or, if you make this when you go to work, cook on low and then finish with the steps below)
- After 4 hours, add the kielbasa - cook another hour to allow flavors to meld and kielbasa to plump up. I cut mine in large chunks because it was too large for my crockpot, but you could also leave it whole or slice up.
- Right before serving, add spinach and stir around until it's wilted - it should only take a couple minutes. Drizzle with a Tbsp of high -quality olive oil and serve in bowls with fresh shaved parmesan on top.