Friday, April 2, 2010

Quick and Classy Cassoulet

The daffodils around the house are a stark reminder that warmer weather is around the corner,
although the nights are still pretty chilly!  So, what comes to my mind?  Food.......yes, food.  Winter food is my favorite.....summer food is all about simplicity.....light dishes and lots of grilling, even though the winter doesn't stop us from that!

But I knew that time was running out for making my cassoulet and if I didn't make it soon, I'd be getting some strange looks from this guy that I live with!  So, on what may have been the last cool day of the year I started cooking this one pot wonder at noon.....I cut the bacon (about 4 or 5 slices) into what the French call a lardon (hey, it's diced/cut up bacon, but you have to admit that lardon sounds much nicer....
either way, they look pretty much the same, although in France it isn't smoked.....but you try finding unsmoked bacon in Virginia!  Hmm.....I think that could be against the law...maybe. 

Anyway, while my bacon was frying, I started prepping my mirepoix, also known as a "holy trinity"......carrots, celery and onions (about a cup of each...or so)! 
I lightly sauteed them with garlic (about 4 cloves)....
 and set them aside, along with the bacon.
Next, it was time to prepare the meats.  I used bratwurst (I used 5 links) and cut it into chunks...
....and browned it and set it aside.
Then I cut up boneless chicken thighs (I used 5 thighs) and browned them....
....at the last minute adding some leeks (I'm a Leek Lover!).
Once the chicken was browned, I added the sausage back in, a nice sized sprig of thyme and two bay leaves.  Then I used about 1.5 cups of chicken stock and about a cup of brandy and let that simmer for about 15 minutes.  This allows the alcohol to cook off, since this dish is covered for baking.
Next I added two tablespoons of tomato paste....
...and a can of diced tomatoes....
Then I added in the bacon....

Then I layered the vegetables on top of the meat mixture....
...then I layered on top of that 2 cans of cannellini beans....
....covered and put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 2 hours.
After two hours, take it out and uncover. 
 I used about 5 slices of fresh bread, some butter (I found FRENCH butter....awesome!) and chopped fresh parsley....I put the bread in the food processor and ground it until fine,
added the butter and parsley and mixed it until it held together when pressed. 
and spread it on top of the cooked mixture,
then put it back in the oven until lightly browed.  When I served it, I added chopped green onions, just because I like the freshness....

We really enjoyed this dish and it just as delicious as leftovers!  Enjoy!

3 comments:

Andrea said...

Good gravy that looks delicious!! I'm bookmarking this one for our next spring snow storm.

Cola said...

Andrea, I'd give anything if someone would invent a scratch and taste or scratch and sniff 'puter screen! This stuff was wicked good!

Andrea said...

I can only imagine how good it smelled, bacon, toasting bread crumbs, hang on I have to wipe up my own drool now :)