Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Curling Up with Cassoulet
Dinner: August 16
Pardon the silence here. I’ve been in Vegas for work, and the closest thing to a home-cooked meal I had in two weeks was the baggie of Cheez-Its that I brought from home. And yes, I’m aware that’s not a meal.
Upon my return home and trip to the grocery store, I was ready to cook something that would make my apartment smell wonderful and provide me with some comfort food. I came across a recipe that my mom sent to me for a classic French cassoulet. It came from her grocery store, so there is no link to it; you’re going to have to trust me on the ingredients.
Obviously, I cut everything in half because I certainly didn’t need to serve six or more people. I also replaced the suggestion for turkey sausage with Italian sausage because, well, turkey schmurkey. Lastly, I didn’t have fresh bay leaves, so I used dried ones and doubled the amount to try to mimic some of the flavor of the fresh herb.
Basics: Rinsed 8 ounces of dry Great Northern beans. Put them in slow cooker with 3 Italian sausage links (halved lengthwise and sliced in ¼ inch pieces), ½ cup chopped carrot, ½ cup chopped celery, ½ cup chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 can of chicken broth, ½ can of diced tomatoes, ½ cup water, ¼ cup white wine, two sizeable pinches of herbes de Provence, ground black pepper, salt, several dashes of hot sauce, and bay leaves. Cooked on high for 8 hours. Removed bay leaves.
This was a wonderful comfort dish! The only problem was that I cooked it in the middle of August in an apartment with no air conditioning. With that aside, this is a dish that I will certainly make in the winter months. The only other change I would make is to brown the sausage in a skillet before adding it to the rest of the ingredients, as it was a big soggy and not as brown as I generally prefer. The herbes de Provence gave it the perfect flavoring, and the hot sauce - along with spicy sausage - gave it a great kick. And paired with a good red French wine and some French bread, it was delish. This is going in winter recipe file for sure!