Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits

This stew is so good and even though the directions look intimidating, it was really simple and quick to make. I've never made biscuits before and I was amazed at how easy it was the create the dough and bake. No more $5 biscuit bags for me! I used wheat flour for the biscuits because I wanted the extra fiber and protein but if you're going for taste, I would say to make them with white un-bleached flour.

On another note, I took this silly picture of Taffy playing with string. My boyfriend did a quick little edit and put him in a classroom. I hope it brings a little LOL to your day : ]

Serves 6
Time : 1 hour and 20 minutes

* 2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
* 3 cups vegetable broth
* 3 Tb cornstarch
* 2 Tb olive oil
* 2 leeks, washed well and sliced thinly ( about 2 cups )
* 1 small onion, cut into medium-size dice
* 1 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 heaping Tb chopped thyme, plus extra for garnish
* Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 tsp salt ( more or less depending on how salty your broth is, so taste first )
* 3/4 cup frozen peas
* 1 ( 15 ounce ) can navy beans, drained and rinsed

* 3/4 cup plain soy milk
* 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
* 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour ( I used whole wheat flour )
* 2 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated vegan shortening

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are just ender enough to be pierced with a fork. Drain immediately so that they do not overcook. While they are boiling, you can prep the rest of the veggies and start preparing the biscuits - the potatoes should definely be done by the time you are.

3. Now, prepare everything for the biscuits. You're not going to make them yet, but it's good to have everything ready when it comes time to top the stew. Add the vinegar to the soy milk in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Now leave that alone and start the stew

4. Mix the cornstarch into the vegetable stock until dissolved.

5. Preheat an oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Saute in the oil the leeks, onions, and carrots until very soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Keep the heat moderate so that they don't burn.

6. Add the garlic, thyme, freshly ground black pepper, and salt, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cooked potatoes and frozen peas, then pour in the vegetable stock mixture. Raise the heat just a bit; it will take a few minutes but the liquid will start simmering. Once it does, lower the heat again. Let it simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, but no longer than that. If you need more time for the biscuits, then turn off the heat under the stew.

Back to the biscuits

7. Add the shortening to the flour in small slivers and work it into the dough with a fork or with your fingers until large crumbs form. You don't want to cream it in; there should be clumps. Drizzle in the soy milk and mix with a fork until everything is moistened ( some dry parts are okay ).

8. Wash and dry your hands, then lightly flour them and get them dirty again. Gently knead the dough about ten times right in the bowl, just so that it is holding together and not very sticky. If it seems sticky, as in sticking to your fingers, then gently work in a little more flour. Set that aside and check on your stew.

9. The stew should be simmering and slightly thickened. Mix in the beans. Now, let's add the biscuits. Pull off chunks of dough that are about slightly larger than golf balls. Gently roll them into balls and flatten a bit; they do not have to be perfectly round. Add them to the top of the stew, placed an inch or so apart.

10. Transfer the whole megillah to the preheated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes. The biscuits should be just slightly browned and firm to the touch.

11. Remove from the oven and use a large serving spoon to place some of the stew and a biscuit in each shallow, individual bowl. Sprinkle with a little chopped fresh thyme.


  1. Too funny-the taffy photo, not the cassoulet! I love this btw, Jacklyn. It really looks so delicious. It's the type of naturally vegan or vegetarian peasant food one gets in the European or even North African countryside. Nice!

  2. As a teacher and cat owner, I really appreciate that picture at the bottom. Hilarious. The stew looks great too.

  3. I think I've made this, is it out of Veganomicon?

    Oh wow how cute is your cat! That picture made my day:)

  4. Stella - Lucky peasants then, because this meal was really yummy...but I get why it would go to the poor. I wish I could grab my plate and take it to Europe : ]

    Jessica - Thank you : ]

    Tender Branson - Oh wow, I had no idea you are a teacher! How cool! I am glad you like the photo

    Carol - Yes, it is from Veganomicon. I am glad you like the pic : ]

  5. everything on your blog looks soooo gooooooood! Love your blog and Taffy! :)

  6. Taffy looks great! Haha, and that pic. in the classroom is terrific!