Monday, March 16, 2009

Turkey and Bean Casserole with Sage

In movies and TV shows, when someone moves to a new neighborhood, or a family member passes away, or a baby is born, or pretty much any other event occurs, all the neighbors bring over casseroles. It's considered the thoughtful thing to do, as the casserole recipient may not have the time or energy to cook for a while, and casseroles keep in the fridge or freezer for an as-yet-undetermined amount of time.

Well, I've found my casserole. Pretending that I lived in a sitcom reality for a minute, or a neighborhood where people actually know their neighbors' names, I now know what I'll make for these fictional neighbors when someone has a baby, or dies, or relocates. And they won't even really need it to keep for a while because they'll want to eat it all in one sitting.

This casserole is fantastic. I was actually really pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it. It takes many of the flavors traditionally associated with cassoulet and tosses them into a mixture that takes a mere fraction of the cooking time. I tweaked the original recipe considerably, and I have to say it came out as a really amazing dish.

Turkey and Bean Casserole with Sage
adapted from Everyday Food Magazine
serves 3


Generous handful of leftover crusty bread
2 tablespoons EVOO
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
handful sage leaves (about 8-10 leaves)
1 large shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 pound lean ground turkey with Italian seasonings*
1/4 cup white wine
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained


1. In a food processor, pulse the bread until very coarse crumbs form. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO, pulse briefly to distribute. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, heat remaining tablespoon EVOO over medium-high. Add the sage, and cook until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to fish out the leaves and place them on a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving remaining oil in the pan. Set aside the sage leaves.

3. Add shallot and garlic to the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is getting tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add meat, wine, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

4. Stir in the beans and cook until beans are tender and creamy, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Don't overdo it on the salt, as the turkey already has some salt in it).

5. Transfer meat-and-bean mixture to a 2 quart casserole. Scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until topping is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve topped with the fried sage leaves.

* If you can't find ground turkey with Italian seasonings, use Italian sausage with casings removed, and omit the red pepper flakes.

This is one of those recipes I want to remember to make again. I get so caught up with trying new recipes that I don't often return to the good ones. This one gets a gold star. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. We're moving soon ...................... :-)