The weather is absolutely beautiful right now, especially last weekend - it was in the EIGHTIES! But a couple weeks ago it was cold, overcast and drippy, which always puts me in the mood for comfort food ... perfect weather for my knock off Cassoulet!
I love comfort food, anything that has to cook for a long time, that's savory and rich, or something starchy doused in gravy, like rice or potatoes, or just anything rich and savory. And Cassoulet is practically all these things! It's a type of bean stew, originating in the south of France, named after the earthenware dish it's supposed to be cooked in. There are a few different versions of it, one with duck confit (Cassoulet de canard), and the history of this dish is quite interesting, but I shan't go into it here. However, I will say that this dish is so revered that there's even some competition in the region as to which little town actually created it. Although I'm somewhat of a foodie, and at some point in life plan to experience each version, I could care less.... I just want to eat it! With some buttery soft and fluffy corn bread and a crisp glass of Semillon. Yes.
Meanwhile, my friend and dear brother-in-law Jim Chukalas (a great realtor with Weichert in the Newton/Freedon area of New Jersey) asked me for this back then and I completely forgot, til now! So here it is, give it a try and please let me know what you think!
- large dutch oven, or my personal fav, an enameled cast iron pot/dutch oven
- wooden and slotted spoons
- sharp knife
- cutting board
- 3 sausages: pork and/or chicken (I use both; 2 pork, 1 chicken), or any other you like; remove them from the casings
- chicken: I prefer thighs because they hold up to long cook times better than breasts, plus... all that flava! I used 6 thighs for this recipe, skinless and deboned cut in to pieces; or 4 breasts, cut up. You can always use both white and dark meat, just add the breast towards the end
I just can't keep her out of my pots!
- garlic, 8 cloves finely chopped; you can use less if you like
- 1 onion finely chopped
- celery, 1 stalk rinsed and finely chopped
- carrots, 2 sticks peeled and finely chopped
- bacon, 4-6 slices thick cut, or pancetta (I used pancetta this time round just to switch it up)
- bay leaf, 2
- olive oil, 2 tablespoons (tbsp)
- chicken stock, 1 quart plus more if necessary
- rosemary, 2 stems stripped and finely chopped
- thyme, 5-7 stems stripped and finely chopped
- herbs de provence, 3 pinches
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bush's cannelloni (white kidney) beans, 4-5 cans rinsed and drained
What To Do:
- heat your heavy bottomed pot to medium
- add olive oil, bacon/pancetta, onion, celery and carrots and sweat for about 10 minutes; add garlic, herbs and bay leaf once the vegetables soften
- add uncased sausages, diced chicken thighs, and smoked ham hock; break up the sausage with back of wooden spoon, or as best you can
- add broth, then beans, then let simmer for 30 minutes until meat is cooked through;
- smash some of the beans to help thicken the dish if you like
- adjust salt and pepper to your liking
- **** PORK BUTT OPTION ****
- if using pork butt/shoulder, you'll want to add it AFTER the veggies and bacon, give it a little color then add the broth, but hold the beans if they're canned step, and let cook til tender, about an hour and have for a pound
- then add the sausage and chicken in the last 30 minutes or so of cooking.
|I served this over rice, with Juan's fluffy buttery corn bread.|
Again, this is my own version, and somewhat of a short cut at that, but i love it! I serve over rice, or just in a bowl all by it's yummy self. It is bananas on the second and third days. I hope you enjoy and if you have any suggestions or make any changes, please share!!