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Cassoulet, the easy way     serves 6-8 finis Originally the cassoulet originated in the South of France and was named after the traditional earthenware pot, a casserole vessel that was used specifically for it.  It was a “peasant’s” dish and utilized all sorts of left-over’s.  It was a slow cooking dish that traditionally contained pork, sausages, goose, duck, mutton, pork skin and white haricot beans.  But it has transformed itself by cooks worldwide to now even containing fish.  This is such a versatile dish and it can be quite healthy.  It can be a little time consuming due to the chopping of the veggies and the browning of the meats so give yourself a minute or two to this creative dish.  The end result will be well worth it.  Also, if you wish to vary the meats such as using pork, go for it. The fun thing with this dish is that you can make it your own by using your imagination with many different kinds of variations.

Ingredients for the cassoulet pictured above:

  • 2 lbs. lamb shoulder slices (bone in)
  • 1 ½ lbs. organic chicken thighs-skin on
  • 12 ounces Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Pork Sausages-cut crosswise in large 1 inch or more slices
  • Bacon-chopped about 1/4 cup or so.
  • 1 shallot, 1 yellow onion, 2-4 garlic cloves–all finely chopped
  • 2 large peeled carrots, 1 large peeled turnip, 1 large peeled rutabaga, 1 large peeled parsnip, several celery stalks with their tops all chopped in large chunks
  • 1-14.5 ounce can of chopped tomatoes—do not drain and 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 or more 15 ounce cans of cannellini white beans—drained, placed in a colander and well rinsed with cold water
  • 1-3 cups of organic chicken (or beef) stock (I used chicken but beef is good too.)
  • At least 1/4 cup white wine or white vermouth (taste as you go)
  • Seasonings: use as you please and pinches only: all spice, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, a pod of anise.
  • Herbs: sprig of Rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, chopped parsley or even dry parsley flakes
  • Olive oil—could be up to 1/2 cup

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Place your 10 inch cast iron skillet on top of the burner
  • Place all of your meats in a separate bowl—if you wish you can S&P them.
  • Place your finely chopped shallot, onion and garlic cloves in a small bowl or maybe like I did you’ve made it easy for yourself and used your Cuisinart.
  • Place all of your chopped root veggies in a bowl
  • Open your chopped tomatoes can and remember the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • Drain and rinse the cannellini white beans and place in a bowl.
  • Heat the skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon in it (about 5 minutes). When the bacon is done, scoop the bacon bits out but leave the bacon drippings in the pan.
  • Over medium heat, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the bacon drippings and gently sauté the onion, shallot and garlic (about 5 minutes) till softened. Remove the ingredients to a separate dish.
  • Now, still over medium heat, add to the skillet the chopped veggies and sauté them till slightly brown—stirring every now and then.
  • Remove the veggies to its separate bowl.
  • To the skillet, still over medium heat, add the meats (maybe in several sessions) and brown, turning every now and then (about 10 minutes)
  • Remove the meats to its separate dish.
  • Over medium heat in the skillet add the chopped tomatoes with its liquid, the tomato paste, the onion, garlic, shallot and 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a slight boil. Add which ever spices you like tasting as you go.  Add the white wine or vermouth.  Keep on tasting.  Add the herbs.  If you like the sauce—go for it.
  • At this point add the beans, meats and veggies. Now if you need some more liquid add some more stock but you don’t want the mixture to be drowning in the liquid.  If you have too much liquid, spoon it out.
  • Place the whole skillet, UNCOVERED, in the pre-heated 350F oven and bake for 1 hour. Watch every now and then to see that your liquid has not evaporated.  If so, add some more chicken stock.
  • Serve with crusty French bread and wine of course.

veggiesmeat-browningbefore-the-oven

 

 

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About TempInnKeeper

Margot loves people and is very energetic and organized. She is also a quick study. Her background includes having renovated, owned and operated an 1887 Victorian bed and breakfast in Paso Robles, CA for 5 years. Her guests loved her and she loved her guests. What a perfect combination. Margot’s marketing skills and love of people also was used in her career as a Realtor and in participating in many charitable non-profit organizations. Margot loves to cook and to offer concierge services to people. She was born in Geneva, Switzerland.; has lived all over CA. including Beverly Hills, in the Silicon Valley area, Paso Robles, the San Joaquin Valley as well as in Sun Valley, ID. She has traveled extensively throughout the world; is a CAL alumni (go Bears!); and also speaks French fluently and Spanish semi-fluently. Her interests are people, cooking, arts, books (look at the blog book club and join if you wish), travel, sports, gardening, painting, music, playing classical piano and animals. Margot Van Horn 208-721-3551 PO Box 3788, Ketchum, ID. margot6@mindspring.com TempInnKeeper@mindspring.com

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