Wild Boar Cassoulet

Serve this casserole as an alternative to turkey, or alongside your Thanksgiving bird. If finding wild boar sausages proves too difficult, you can substitute Italian sausage. Recipe copyright 2002, by Jeff and Jodie Morgan.

Wine recommendations: This dish’s gamy sausage and earthy mushroom flavors calls for a hearty but rustic red—Rhône reds are good bets, as are Chiantis. American Sangioveses, Pinot Noirs and Syrahs, such as those made by Steve Pessagno, are also excellent matches.

  • 2 cups dried white navy beans
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 10 wild boar sausages (or Italian sweet sausages)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, or one
  • 28-ounce can tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leave

Rinse and pick over the beans. Soak them overnight or for 8 hours in water that covers them by 2 inches. Drain any remaining water and transfer beans to a large pot. Add fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, add 2 teaspoons salt and reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain off any remaining water and set beans aside.

Using a fork, poke one set of holes in opposite sides of each sausage. Place the sausages in a large skillet and fill with water about 1/2-inch deep. (Do not cover the sausages with water. They should be half immersed in liquid.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Reserve the sausages and discard the water.

Preheat oven to 400F. In a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat, stirring regularly until the onion is somewhat translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the thyme, rosemary and mushrooms and continue to simmer, covered, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked beans. Stir in the tomatoes. (If using canned tomatoes, you may also pour in the juice from the can.) Stir in the 2 remaining teaspoons of salt. Remove beans from heat.

Cut the sausages in half or into 2-inch long sections and mix them into the beans. Insert the bay leaves into the top of the cassoulet and bake, uncovered, in the oven for 45 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.

Published on July 1, 2010