It is cold.

There’s no denying that we’ve been experiencing some cold temperatures lately, causing our bodies to crave warm comfort food.

Food of substance. Food that makes the house smell good.

As soon as the turkey was carved and the leftovers packed away, I started simmering turkey stock on the stove. It’s something I do every year so I can prepare a few soups for the freezer.

This year I did it at my in-laws and provided two different soups for three families.

Since we ate plenty at Thanksgiving, making soup offered a lighter option in the days following the holiday and helped to reset our systems.

Now that the eating hiatus is over, it’s time again for something a little more rich, like a cassoulet.

If you’ve had Corner Table’s cassoulet, topped with pork belly, you know that this will fill you up.

As much as I love Corner Table, I can’t eat there every night. So, I had to try a version on my own, one that’s a little lighter.

If you’re a Minnesotan, and ever eaten casserole or hot dish, you’ve had cassoulet before as they are pretty much the same thing: meat, veggies, sauce, and crunchy topping.

Sausage and White Bean Cassoulet
serves four

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
8 sweet Italian sausage links, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 small leeks, thinly sliced (and washed)
2 large carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup turkey broth (or chicken broth)
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium skillet cook sausages in one tablespoon olive oil over moderate heat, turning until browned on all sides and cooked through. This should take about eight minutes.

Then transfer to paper towels to drain.

In the fat remaining in skillet cook onions, leeks and carrots, stirring until softened and stir in garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add white wine, tomatoes, broth, thyme, beans and reserved sausage. Bring to a boil and transfer to a casserole dish.

Bake for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, make the topping by combining breadcrumbs and olive oil. Sprinkle over dish and return to the oven to bake for 20 additional minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden.

Remove from oven, let rest for a couple of minutes and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.