Today was the first day I’ve had totally, utterly to myself in weeks and I was determined not to waste it. I slept in a little (till 9:30! My former late-sleeping college self is laughing her skinny butt off as we speak) Spent a few glorious hours drinking percolated coffee and catching up with my Google Reader. Browsed lazily through some cookbooks to get an idea for dinner. Braved the rain and grocery shopped, then had a late lunch with the Big Man at Steak Frites in Union Square (food was just meh, if you’re wondering) Back to the apartment with the windows open, more reading, a nap, then Shrimp Cassoulet for dinner. Honestly, it was one of those perfectly lazy days that I know I will miss when once we start a family.
(Side note to my mother: “once we start a family” does not mean “tomorrow”. Be still your beating heart!)
I ripped this recipe for a Shrimp and White Bean “Cassoulet” out of an O magazine years ago and have been cooking (and tweaking) it ever since. I’m hesistant to go along with its author, Laura Pensiero, and call it a cassoulet– I don’t want any French people or subsequent Francophiles getting their panties in a twist over the term. I’m well aware that the French, specifically those in the Castelnaudary region where cassoulet was allegedly invented, created the Grande Confrerie du Cassoulet, to defend anyone who tried to make cassoulet the wrong way. (Don’t speak French? You can read the Enligh version of the history of cassoulet here) They even knight new members into this club by tapping the inductees once on each shoulder with a cassoulet bowl. I may sometimes believe I am obsessed with food, but that takes things to a whole new level of respect.
So with that in mind, with respect to both Laura Pensiero and the citizens of Castelnaudary, I’m calling this deliciously simple dish Shrimp and Bean Casserole. No cute and fancy recipe titles here- I’m nothing if not boring and unimaginative when it comes to that sort of stuff.
Shrimp and White Bean Casserole
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 leeks, cleaned thoroughly, white and light green parts only, sliced very thin
- 2-3 garlic cloves,minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 pound medium raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, minced and divided in half
- 3 tablespoons all purpose white flour
- 1/2 heaping teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 1/2 cups cooked white cannelini beans, or two 15oz cans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs (I recommend panko)
- Preheat oven to 375*F. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with olive oil. In a large skillet pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and pepper flakes and cook until the leeks have softened, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add shrimp, garlic, and half the minced parsley and cook, stirring often, until the pink has just started to turn pink. Stir in the flour and salt until combined, scarping off the bottom of the pan as you go. Stir in the wine and chicken broth and cook, stirring, until the mixture has just started to simmer and the wine has cooked off. Add the beans and combine.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and the rest of the parsley as well as 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix. Spread this over the top of the shrimp mixture and bake, 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the breadcrumbs have browned. Let cool slightly and serve.