White Bean Capital Cassoulet

By: Jamie
December 13, 2011

You never know what you’ll discover while reading an issue of Edible Toronto. I was recently perusing the fall issue (though the Winter issue is apparently out and about), where David Cohlmeyer’s  recipe for Roasted Garlic Bean Soup was accompanied by the offhanded opener:

“Most of the world’s white beans come from Ontario.”

Could this be true? Apparently so.

And to top it off, Ontario lays claim to the “White Bean Capital of Canada–close by in Hensall Ontario. In fact when asked, on Twitter, to name the White Bean Capital of Canada, Dalton McGuinty not only named Hensall, but posted a picture of himself at one of the town’s bean production facilities.

Hensall is so proud of it’s title that W.P Fields (White Pea Fields) is the official town mascot. Here he is below

The Little Inn of Bayfield, a lovely place to stay in town,  proudly serves Hensall White Bean Cassoulet on its dinner menu. The chef, Joseph Petrinac, was kind enough to share his incredible recipe with us.

Hensall White Bean Cassoulet (Serves 4-6)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Hensall white beans (soaked in cold water overnight)
  • 2 medium sized heirloom carrots(yellow/orange)
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 leek; white part only
  • 2 shallots; diced
  • garlic confit cloves; 10/ chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig each of thyme, rosemary + tarragon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup duck fat
  • 1 cup stemmlers air cured bacon; diced
  • 5 cups smoked ham hock stock
  • 1/2 cup oven dried roma tomatoes; skins & seeds removed/chopped
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper; to taste

Herbed Bread Crumbs

  • 2 cups sour dough bread; oven dried
  • 1/4 cup each of parlsey, chives, tarragon, thyme & rosemary
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & cracked pepper; to taste

Combine all bread crumb ingredients in a food processor

Method

Cassoulet;

  • Heat olive oil & duck fat in large casserole; add diced bacon add saute until crisp, then add diced shallots and cook until translucent finally adding the garlic confit & oven dried tomatoes/season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add soaked beans, herbs, bay leaves, carrots/celery/leeks; cover with stock and simmer until beans are just tender. add more stock if necessary if to dry during cooking.
  • When done remove whole vegetables and reserve, remove herb stems/bay leaves and discard. Then dice reserved vegetables and fold gently back into the cassoulet.
  • Top with herbed bread crumbs and bake until crumbs are golden.