Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cold Weather Entertaining


So the holidays are over and you have been spending an inordinate amount of time cuddled up on the sofa in your Snuggie. It is really easy to fall into a post holiday funk. However, cold weather entertaining is some of the easiest to pull off. One pot meals are hearty, warming and delicious.

Also, people are looking for an excuse to spend a little less time with the remote. The following recipe for White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet from Woman’s Day is the perfect tasty, simple dish. Just serve with a loaf of fresh bread, red wine and a light dessert such as panna cotta.

With the meal being casual it opens up the night for games, movies or you could ask everyone to bring their wackiest gift received over the holidays for some good laughs.

Whatever the activity, the night will be filled with great food, great company and great laughs.

White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet

2 tsp oil
3 links (10 oz) Italian sausage
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
3 cans (15.5 oz each) Great Northern beans, rinsed
2 cans (14.5 oz each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1⁄2 cup water1 tsp dried thyme leaves

Seasoned Crumb Topping
2 tsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
2 Tbsp each grated Parmesan and chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.
2. Heat oil in a 5-qt pot over medium heat. Brown sausages on all sides until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove to plate.
3. In fat remaining in saucepan, sauté carrots, celery, onion and garlic until golden, about 5 minutes.
4. Cut sausages into 1⁄4-in.-thick slices. Add sausages, beans, tomatoes and their juices, water and thyme to saucepan. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until heated through and flavors are blended.
5. Topping: Toss oil and garlic with bread crumbs; spread on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, tossing once, until toasted. Cool slightly; stir in Parmesan and parsley. Serve topping with cassoulet.

Serves 8.

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