Tag Archives: beans


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


  • 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.




Ham and Cannellini Soup-the quick and easy way



Ham and Cannellini Soup—the quick and easy way

It’s still cool in these parts and I had taken out from the freezer a ham with bone, left over from Easter. The ham was so tasty but I was in a mood for something hot and easy. So, here is what I did and it really turned out good. I did top it with some shaved Parmesan and croutons and that made it even more delicious but I am sure not very non-caloric. Oh well———



  1. 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  2. 1 celery stalk, sliced
  3. Several bits of parsley
  4. 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  5. 6 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon which I really like)
  6. 1 Tsp. mustard powder
  7. 1 large bay leaf
  8. 1 ½ to 2 C. chopped ham
  9. 1- 15-oz. can Cannellini beans well rinsed
  10. Optional: Croutons and shaved Parmesan for the topping



  1. Add the first 6 ingredients in a medium sized pot and bring these ingredients to a slow boil; then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. Then add your two last ingredients and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  3. Voila—easy and yummy
  4. Variations: you could use different kinds of beans; you could add different and more veggies; and you could also use different kinds of seasonings.   Versatility and imagination is always the fun in creating a good dish.

Cassoulet with Lamb and White Beans



Cassoulet With Lamb and White Beans

Serves 4


I love a good cassoulet and it can be varied using different kinds of meats, poultry, and beans.  Originally this dish originated in the South of France and was named after the traditional earthenware pot, a cassole that was used specifically for it.  It’s 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.  I love the traditional version, but I also like this newer one.



2 Tblsp. olive oil

2 lbs. lamb stew meat or pieces (I bought some Cedar Springs Lamb Arm Chops and cut them into pieces and included the bone in the cooking)

2 yellow onions, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 C. vegetable broth (or you can use water if you prefer)

2/3 C. white wine or vermouth

4 C. small white cooked beans (I made mine earlier with a bay leaf and chopped bacon)

2 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 Tsp. fresh rosemary

Several pepper corns

2 whole cloves

1 bay leaf




Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat.  Add lamb and brown well on all sides (about 5 minutes).  Transfer to a dish and set aside.  Add onions, garlic, and carrots to the pot and sauté until slightly browned (about 4 minutes).  Add stock or water and wine and bring to a simmer.  Add reserved lamb, beans, rosemary, bay leaf, cloves, and pepper corns.  Cover and simmer gently about an hour until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork. Discard the bay leaf, cloves, and pepper corns. Season to taste with S&P.  Spoon into 4 large bowls and serve with crusted bread.  If you wish you can put some fresh bread crumbs on top of each oven proof bowl and bake in oven for 5 to 10 minutes.


 For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.



Lentils and Kale Delight-Think Single


Lentils & Kale Delight—Think Single

Servings: for one or possibly two people


I am a single person with a wonderful toy poodle and a lovely Green Singing Finch. Most of my days, I eat my main meal in the middle of the day (following my Swiss heritage I guess) and a little something more in the evenings.  This is a wonderfully EASY, quick, tasty, and healthy dish to make for your evening meal (or any time of the day for that matter)


1/2 C. lentils (the packaged brown kind)

1 or 2 chopped garlic (I actually use the jar kind)

1/3 C. chopped red onion

4 or 5 sprigs of whole parsley

1 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 or more mint leaves (chopped)

1/2 Tblsp. cumin seeds

2 C. chicken broth

1 C. or more of chopped fresh kale

Shaved Parmesan cheese for topping

Additional ingredients you can add are:

One diced boiling potato to make a perfect protein with the lentils (you might want to add a bit more liquid if so).

For the naughty at heart, a bit of diced bacon from the start.

In a good sized pot, place the above mentioned ingredients and bring to a nice simmer. Place a lid on top but tilt it—and simmer for anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes depending how tender you wish the lentils and kale to be.  You can adjust the herbs to your taste. I felt that I didn’t need to add S&P—but do whatever inspires you.  That’s what cooking is all about—a little experimenting and lot of enjoying.  Use a lot of the right side of your brain when it comes to cooking.  It should be creative and fun.

Place in a beautiful soup bowl and top with freshly shaved Parmesan.

By the time I have cooked this, my toy poodle is hungry for his meal. So of course, I give him a bit of chicken stock and parmesan, all of which he loves and well appreciates. Then for Bandit, the bird, he gets some fresh kale.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.innkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.





Salmon and Corn Chowder with Fava Beans


Salmon and Corn Chowder with Fava Beans

Serves 4 generous servings.

Have you noticed?  Our wonderful Hagerman Corn is back.  It’s plentiful and priced right.  YUM!! I say.  Salmon has also been well priced lately and the weather is sort of cool so that makes me think of a good chowder.  Here’s one I like a lot and darn it, when I make it, it’s like potato chips—I can’t stop eating when I should.


1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips

1 onion, chopped

4 boiling potatoes—I used the white kind, I didn’t peel, cut into ½ inch dice

3 C. chicken broth

1 3/4 Tsp. salt

1/4- 1/2 Tsp. dill

1/4 to 1/2 Tsp. thyme or several sprigs

1/4 Tsp. fennel seeds

1 or 2 bay leaves

1/4 Tsp. coarse style pepper

4 ears corn kernels (you can use frozen, but why?)

1 lb. salmon filets—with skin taken off

1 Cup fava beans (you can substitute lima beans or even green peas)

3/4 C. half and half (I do use this and don’t use milk)

for a topping, you can use chopped chives or scallion tops


In a LARGE pot, cook the bacon till crisp.  Remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  If necessary, pour off all but 1 Tblsp. of the fat (my bacon was so lean, I had to add a little olive oil) and add the onion.  Cook over moderate/low heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 min.)

Add the potatoes, broth, drained bacon, and the S&P and the other herbs to the pot and simmer, covered for 10 min.  Put the corn kernels in the pot and cook, covered, until the potatoes and corn are just done (about 5 minutes more).

Add the salmon, fava beans and bring back to a simmer.  Don’t overcook the fish! At this point, stir in the half-and-half and serve the chowder topped with the chives and with a crusty baguette.

Note: It’s even better the next day.




Lentil & Pork Soup


Lentil and Pork Soup   


2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

½ chopped onion or up to 2 C. sliced leeks(add some greens)

2 chopped cloves garlic

S & P

1 tsp. fresh thyme (or dried)

½ tsp. ground cumin

Chopped carrot(as much as 1 1/2 C)

Chopped celery(as much as 1 1/2C)

A little tomato juice or 2 tblsp. tomato paste

1 C. dried lentils

1 thin sliced fresh pork chop—cut up in small pieces (or 1 lb. kielbasa sausage sliced in ½ and cut up)

4 to 6 C. chicken stock(6 if using 3 C  carrots & celery)

Dried parsley flakes or fresh chopped parsley


Heat oil in heavy stock pot of medium heat.  Saute leeks/onion, garlic, S&P, thyme, and cumin until leeks/onion is soft.  Stir in carrots and celery and sauté another 5 min. Add chicken broth, tomato juice, and lentils.  Cover and simmer for 15 to 50 min.  Stir in pork and simmer another 10 min.


Serve w/parmesan cheese