Rich rustic Tuscan-Style Beef Cassoulet, a comforting holiday meal to serve to large crowds this season!
Holiday meals can be so tricky… And expensive.
There are times I’ve planned a big festive dinner party for twelve, only to find some of our guests have impromptu relatives in town, or friends have new love-interests they want to bring along.
I hate to turn people away. After all, the holidays are a time for lavish generosity and merry making, right?
Yet extra guests not only make planning difficult, they also multiply the grocery budget exponentially.
Over the years I’ve come up with a game plan for the inevitable “surprise” dinner party expansion.
Instead of making a main dish with a premium high-priced protein (like standing rib roast) that can only be stretched so far, I cook large batches of more casual dishes that still offer a touch of elegance.
The trick is to find a recipe that still feels special and tastes luxurious, yet is budget-friendly and can be easily redistributed to feed any number of people.
It sounds impossible, I know. Yet there are dishes that hit all the criteria.
Today’s Tuscan-Style Beef Cassoulet recipe is the ultimate example, in my opinion.
So what is a cassoulet exactly? I’m so glad you asked!
A cassoulet is a rustic bean stew, from the southern provincial regions of France. It was not originally thought of as haute cuisine, but more of a home-cooked economical peasant dish.
Cassoulets are traditionally made with white beans, vegetables, pork or foul, and lots of herbs. However as the dish grew in popularity, it has been recreated by chefs in all sorts of ornate variations.
Even though cassoulet is just a fancy word for a thick bean stew (and the name of the French vessel they are traditionally cooked in) they are extremely rich and satisfying, making them a wonderful dish for holiday gatherings.
Our Tuscan-Style Beef Cassoulet may sound like a contradiction… French cooking with Italian ingredients.
However, after several trips to France and Italy, I can tell you from experience, the provincial cuisine on the southern coast of France and western coast of Italy, have a lot of similarities.
The countries do share a border after all.
This Tuscan-Style Beef Cassoulet offers robust flavors and a decadent hearty texture with tender black angus beef roast, bacon, sun dried tomatoes, wine, and lots of beans and veggies.
Plus, it can be stretched to feed ample portions to up to 20 people! Just add some crackly French bread and a good salad alongside.
Not only is this Tuscan-Style Beef Cassoulet cost-effective for large dinner parties, I saved even more money by purchasing all my ingredients at ALDI!
ALDI is the place to shop for your holiday groceries, decorations, and gifts. I am always amazed at how full my cart is, yet how little I spend.
ALDI is in the process of updating over 1,300 stores across the nation!
As these stores are upgraded this year, the ALDI shopping experience is getting even better. I’m constantly finding new products, and little changes that make my shopping trip more enjoyable.
Not only can I find all my staple ingredients, ALDI also offers fabulous wines, beer, pre-made party appetizers, cheese, baked goods, and specialty items at extremely affordable prices.
My last trip to ALDI I found amazing deals on fresh marbled Black Angus Bottom Round Roast, Crimson Roots Dark Red Wine (which received a 2017 Silver Medal Award and 87 point rating from the Beverage Testing Institute,) thick-cut bacon, dried beans, fresh produce, and organic dried herbs.
These ingredients were the inspiration for this Tuscan-Style Beef Cassoulet recipe.
If you haven’t been to ALDI in a while, I suggest you give it a try! Use their store locator to find a newly-renovated store near you.
You can also follow @ALDIUSA on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter! Share your favorite ALDI find with the hashtag #ALDILove.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ALDI. All value-loving opinions are my own.
Tuscan-Style Beef Cassoulet
- 32 ounce bag Great Northern Beans
- 3 1/2 pound Black Angus Bottom Round Roast
- 8 strips Thick Sliced Bacon
- 1 large onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 2 large carrots
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 6 garlic cloves
- 14.5 ounce can Diced Tomatoes
- 7 ounce jar sun dried tomatoes, drained
- 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
- 32 ounces Beef Broth
- 2 1/2 cups Dark Red Blend wine
- 1/4 cup Bread Crumbs, Omit for Gluten Free
- salt and pepper
- Do Ahead: Place the dried beans in a large bowl. Cover with water by 2 inches. Soak overnight to hydrate the beans for cooking. When ready to start cooking, drain off excess water.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prep all ingredients: Cut the beef roast into 1 inch cubes. Chop the bacon into thin bite-size pieces. Peel and chop the onion. Slice the celery and carrots into small pieces. Quarter the mushrooms. Cut the sun dried tomatoes into thin strips. Peel and mince the garlic.
- Set a large 7-8 quart stock pot over medium heat and add the bacon. Once the bacon is mostly cooked through, add in the beef cubes. Brown the beef on all sides, about 5 minutes. Then add in the chopped onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, to soften the vegetables.
- Add the beans, diced tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, beef broth, red wine, 4 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Stir and cover with a heavy lid.
- Carefully move the pot into the oven. Cook for 3+ hours, until the beans and beef are soft. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. Place back in the oven without the lid for 15 minutes, or until the bread crumb are toasted. Serve warm!
NOTES: Without the breadcrumbs, this is a gluten free recipe.