Cassoulet, the easy way serves 6-8 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.
Oven Roasted Pork Hock plated
Oven Baked Fresh Pork Hocks
This is a German inspired dish. It’s called Eisbein in Northern Germany and Schweinshaxe in the southern part. My inspiration is not totally authentic because I’ve added more root vegetables to it; for fall time cooler weather this is a perfect dish. It’s nice to serve for the family and even guests. Not only is it quite healthy, but it’s also super economical. The dish shown here cost me $13 (including the sauerkraut and optionals) for 3 generous servings. And that cost is here in the Sun Valley, Idaho region where prices are a bit more than in other lower lying areas. If you wonder from where the “hock” comes, let me tell you: it’s the part of the pig where the foot was attached to the leg.
- 3 Fresh Pork Hocks
- 1 or 2 onion(s)-sliced thin
- 4-6 garlic cloves, halved or quartered
- 1 leek sliced thin
- 3 celery sticks roughly chopped or even diced
- 1/4 C. olive oil
- Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 Tsp. juniper berries or some rosemary (I used about two small sprigs but you can use dried as well—maybe 1 Tsp. full) and 1 Tsp. or more of fresh lemon juice or you can use some gin (use your discretion for this)
- 4 C. or less of heated beef stock (if cumin is your thing, you can add a little of that to the stock)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Additions if you wish
- 3 white potatoes – quartered or in large chunks
- 3 carrots peeled and cut in large chunks
- 3-4 Brussels sprouts—quartered
- 1 parsnip- peeled and cut in large chunks
- 1 turnip peeled and cut in large chunks
- Serve with separately heated sauerkraut and if you didn’t use the potatoes in the dish, those can be cooked separately and served with the “kraut” and the hocks.
- Pre-heat oven to 425
- In a roasting pan that you can easily cover, spread the onion, celery, garlic cloves and leek on the bottom.
- Place the pork hocks on top of the veggies and pour the olive oil over the hocks and pepper and salt both sides but make sure the hocks are rind side up before placing in oven.
- Pour on 1 C. beef stock
- Place in 425 oven and bake for about 25 minutes or till the rind is crispy.
- Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven down to 350.
- At this point of the recipe, I did check every half-hour to make sure the stock had not totally evaporated. If so just add more. Also you can baste the meat every half-hour.
- Probably all of the stock has evaporated which mine did; so add 2 more C. of beef stock. Add the juniper berries or fresh lemon juice and rosemary sprigs (or gin), the 2 cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. I also added the optional parsnip and turnip at this stage.
- Cover and bake for 1 hour.
- Then add the optional potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts. You might need more beef stock at this point so add another cup.
- Cover and bake for another hour or until the meat is easily removed from the bone. However, don’t over cook or the hook will become tough.
Pork Steak, Economical & the Easy and Delicious Way for a Dinner Fix
Pork steaks present such an economical value and can be so tasty. Here is a very easy way to fix them and I am sure that you will enjoy them greatly. A side of fried potatoes or even a potato salad along with coleslaw would be a perfect accompaniment.
- 6 Pork Steaks or 3 large ones like the one I cooked (shown in picture)
- 1/4 C. Butter
- 1/4 C. Soy Sauce
- 1 Bunch green onions or one medium regular onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and mix in the soy sauce.
- Sauté the onions and garlic until lightly browned
- Place the pork steaks in the skillet, cover, and cook 8-10 minutes on each side.
- Remove cover and continue cooking 10 minutes or to an internal temp of 145 degrees in the chops.
Want a recipe? Take a look at http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com
Pork Chops—stove top and baked featuring cumin and mustard— easy and delicious
This particular recipe serves 4 however it can just serve one or more than 4 if you have a very large skillet.
- 4 8-ounch thick pork chops
- 1 Tsp. kosher salt
- 4 Tsp. grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 Tblsp. crushed cumin seed or ground cumin will do as well
- 1 Tsp. cracked black pepper
- 1 Tsp. canola oil and another generous tsp. or more for the iron skillet (or any skillet that can be used stove top as well as in the oven)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a small bowl mix the salt, mustard, cumin, black pepper and 1 tsp. canola oil
- Spread the mixture above on both sides of the pork chop
- Stove top, heat the other Tsp. canola oil in the iron skillet
- Put the pork chop(s) in the heated skillet and brown for 2 minutes on each side.
- Put the skillet in the pre-heated oven and bake until the chops are just cooked through—about 12 minutes but it can be before, so watch carefully. You don’t want your chops to be tough.
- There you go—easy and delicious.
- Now, that you have the basic recipe, try to imagine other variations to spread on your chops and let me know what you like the best.
Bon Appétit—From Margot’s Table to Yours and http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com
Pork Tenderloin Margot’s Easy Way
This is a fun and easy dish to prepare: fun because I decided to do some colorful accompaniments for my presentation and certainly easy because there was so little prep work. But best of all, the roast was even better the next day— sliced and served cold. So I am thinking that this might be a good dish to make the day before and then slice and serve it at a picnic or for a cold buffet for your family or guests. Even the veggies were delicious cold. Think ahead to our wonderful SVSS picnics and other summer events as well.
- One 2 lb. pork tenderloin
- 2 C. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 C. olive oil or more if you need it
- Some mini sized mixed bell peppers
- Some whole mushrooms
- Use your imagination for more veggies
- Parsley and some large leaves of some sort of lettuce for décor
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Place the pork roast on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet that has some sides to it. (You don’t have to use aluminum foil but I find it easy with which to wrap the roast for later refrigerator storage and also for the cleaning of the baking sheet.)
- In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs and olive oil so that he makes a nice consistency to pat all over the roast and so that it sticks to it.
- Bake the roast for at least 35-45 minutes or until there is no rare pink showing when you poke it a bit or/and if a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Frankly, a little pink does not scare me in this day and age.
- Let the roast rest for at least 10 minutes and then slice it into 1/2 inch slices if you wish to serve it the same day. If you are planning on serving it the next day, wrap it in the foil and slice it then.
- For the veggies (mushrooms and mini peppers)—you can roast them along with the roast or if you wish, sauté them in some olive oil in a frying pan; then surround the roast on a platter (lately I favor white dishes) with your colorful veggies. By the way, with the peppers, I actually left them whole—stem, seeds and all. Roasted they were delicious and it was fun to pick up the pepper and discard the stem (not for the feint of heart I guess—) As well as I mentioned previously, this is a dish that is almost more excellent the next day—served cold.
- Please see my blog for multiple vegetable oven roasting directions: http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com P.S. I like my roasted veggies to have a little “burnt” character to them–but you don’t have to do this.
Rick’s Slow Cooked Pork
Two of my guests at my bed and breakfast inn decided that they wanted to move from Tahoe to Paso. So, they resided in my cottage for well over a month. They were a lovely young couple and I loved their company. Christy eventually became the manager at an exclusive winery; Rick though always loved to cook and he ended up working at an exclusive restaurant. This is one of his recipes and I love the ease and simplicity of it. It is sort of a pulled pork recipe so if you look at comparable recipes, you can also add vinegar, etc. but honestly, I think that Rick’s way is the best. So here it is:
- One 3-4 lbs. Shoulder/butt (NOT LOIN) I used a 3.44 Lb. Fresh Boston Butt Pork Shoulder Roast that was priced very nicely.
- Olive oil—I used at least 1/2 C.
- Fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 275.
- LIBERALLY, and I mean that, spread olive oil over the whole roast. I sprayed with olive oil a large Pyrex dish first and placed the roast in it.
- Salt and pepper the roast to your taste.
- Spread fresh thyme, as much you would like, over it all.
- Cook the roast, uncovered, for 6 hours.
- That’s it and believe me, moist and delicious is what you get.
- Now, I had some freshly washed spinach waiting to be cooked and I thought, well, why not about 1/2 hour before the pork is done to pile it on top of the pork, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and Parmesan on top of the greens, place a top (or aluminum foil) on top and put it back in the oven. But even before that since I also had a left over cooked baked potato, I had cut that up in small bits and had added that around the roast before I did the spinach bit.
- When I took the roast out, I arranged the spinach and potatoes nicely around the roast and it looked gorgeous.
- Of course, this kind of pork also goes very well with potato salad and/or beans.
- Rick also said that you can cook very thick pork chops like this as well. He said to cook them for 1 ½ to 2 hours the slow way.
Makes 4 servings
I haven’t made this dish in just ages and it was a very popular one served at home and in restaurants in the 50’s. However, then it was made with veal which was so much more economically priced than it is presently. So, pork once more it is and nice that it’s still so well priced. My dish turned out delicious and I deem that you can serve it either for your family or guests. And by the way, I served this with noodles topped with diced tomatoes, Parmesan and black pitted olives and sided with a lovely romaine salad.
- Four 1/4″ to 1/2” thick boneless pork chops—center cut about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ lb.
- 1/4 C. olive oil
- Flour which has been spiced liberally with S&P– for dredging
- Plain bread crumbs for dredging (which if you wish you can add in some shredded Parmesan)
- 2 eggs –beaten
- S&P to taste
- 1/2 C. vermouth or white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes- up to you how much you want to use
- Sliced mozzarella or shredded Italian cheese mixture
- Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish
- One lemon cut in quarters
- Pre-heat the oven to 450.
- The chops should be about 1/4 inch thick; if they are not, and mine were 1/2 inch thick, do the following: Put the chops between 2 sheets of saran wrap or wax paper and roll them gently with a rolling pin till they are approximately the correct thickness. This I actually think made them extra tender to eat so I would do this even if they are about 1/4 inch thick. You can also pound them gently.
- Beside your burner, place one platter with the flour, the next one with the beaten eggs and the third (nearest the burner) with the bread crumbs.
- Heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat-you don’t want to crowd the chops.
- When the oil is hot (a pinch of flour will sizzle), dredge the chops, one at a time, in the flour and then the egg dip and then the bread crumbs, and place in the skillet to brown. Even though this is pork, undercook them a bit because they’ll continue cooking in the oven. So, the browning process shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes per side. Cook the chops over high heat enough to make the oil bubble. As well at this point, have an oiled oven proof dish next to your burner.
- As soon as your chop is brown on one side (they brown fast so watch closely), then cook the other side. When the chops are done, place them in your oven proof dish without overlapping.
- Empty your skillet from the remaining oil and return it to the burner. Add the wine/vermouth over medium-high heat and cook, stirring until the wine is just about evaporated. Add the lemon juice and stir.
- Top each chop with the lemon/wine mixture (there won’t be much); then top with as much tomato sauce or diced tomatoes as you wish (usually it’s just a spoonful or two); and lastly top with either a thin slice of mozzarella or as much shredded Italian Cheese mixture as you wish.
- Place the baking dish in the oven until the cheese is melted—about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately garnished with some chopped parsley on the top and a lemon wedge on the side.
For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com Call Margot for personal cooking help or hosting
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.