What a hearty meal! It was very filling and quite tasty; ham just makes every dish taste better.
canola or olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup good smoked ham, trimmed and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dried navy beans (or use your favorite white bean), soaked overnight and drained
1 pinch thyme, rubbed
1 bay leaf
salt and black pepper, divided
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute about 10 minutes or til veggies soften.
Stir in ham and garlic and cook another 5 minutes or so.
Increase heat to high and stir in broth, beans and seasonings; bring to a boil. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 1 hour.
Stir in tomatoes and cook another 30 minutes or til beans are very tender and most of the cooking liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over medium high heat. Add a little oil and toast bread crumbs for a few minutes, being careful not to burn.
I served the cassoulet sprinkled with the bread crumbs.