Monday, March 30, 2015


Now I'm getting fancy (or not).  I wanted to use my new dutch oven. A cassoulet is basically a bean casserole or bean stew.  It is French, but French peasant cooking. That means it was designed to be flexible like any homemade stew or soup . Many French versions use duck legs. Other regions use lamb shoulder as the primary meat. All use sausages. In the U.S. we have chicken available.  Working off a recipe from Serious Eats, I made my version..

Looking at the procedure list, this seems insanely complicated.  It's not.  I'm just making a pot of baked pork and beans.  I've browned some chicken and sausages to add to the pot.

Jacques Pepin has a recipe for a 30 minute Hurray! Cassoulet  He uses canned beans. I'm  not sure his is a lot easier.  It's not hard to let a pot bake in a slow oven.

*The night before start 8 ounces of beans soaking.  Add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to 1 quart of water.
* Cook 4 oz of salt pork. Cut it up into small chunks and cook until crispy. Remove from pan.
* Trim excess fat and skin from 4 chicken thighs and brown in the pork fat. This will render a lot of fat from the chicken.
* Remove most of the fat and add 8 to 12 ounces of sausages to pan.  Cook until they are browned.   Seasoning for this dish will come from the meats.  Salt pork will add salt, so be careful of additional salt. Select sausages like garlic and onion, or Italian.

* Remove the sausages and cook one chopped onion until it is soft. Scrape up the brown fond on the bottom of the pan and add a few tablespoons of wine if necessary to deglaze.

* Rinse the beans and add them to the pan.  Add enough chicken stock to cover the beans. If you are not using homemade stock, see the Serious Eats recipe for hints on how to add a bit of unflavored gelatin to add body to the stock.
* Bring the beans to a simmer and cook for 40-45 minutes.

*Add all the meats back to the pan.  Arrange the chicken skin side up.  Bake in a 285 -300 degree oven for 4 hours.  Check every hour or so and add stock or water as necessary.  The beans should just remain covered.

Serve in a shallow bowl

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