Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Cassoulet, baby

Here's a delish dish for you to try anyday!  I made a variation of this one and the fam liked it.  The Big Kid and I loved it, the middle kids gobbled it up once they learned they'd get a cookie when their (modest) serving was done.  The Man ate it.  The littlest one ate the carrots most enthusiatically. 

The finished product.

I am no expert at using dried beans, though I try and I try and I try.  They just aren't as soft as I'd like.  When I make baked beans, I'd like them to mush more than I can get them to.  For this recipe, I did use dried beans again and prepared them as per the directions on the back.  I used the quick method because the dish was a last-minute decision.  Well, I was preparing lunch at 8:30am so I guess it wasn't that last-minute, was it?  Anyhoo, no canned cannelini nor white kidney in the house so I used a bag of Bella Tavola Great Northern.  Leftover prepared beans will be used in a white bean dip.
Cassoulet cooking in the pot.

I used a regular white onion in place of the leeks as that was what I had.  That's the only substitution I made and the dish was great!
Cassoulet ingredients before...
... and after.  RRRRarrr
(that`s onion, carrot, celery and garlic)

I will be making this fancy-named meal again, it was easy and nourishing.  I bet it freezes well and could be put in lunches and appreciated.  Today's version was very simple and clean-looking though I'm sure you could throw just about anything at it and it'd be good.  Traditionally, a cassoulet has meat in it, duck and mutton.  Mine did not and probably won't ever, only time will tell on that one.
The most enjoyable part of the dish was making the garlic confit!  It smelled wonderful in the house and the garlic and oil will be enjoyed a few more times before it's all done.  I envision it drizzled on mashed or baked potatoes, splashed into soups, or on a plate to dip bread into.  Action verbs, yeah!
I want you to meet my friend, garlic.

Despite the fact that the recipe that inspired me originally does have all the instructions to make the garlic confit, I saw that a favourite chef of mine and author of a cookbook that I own also has an explanation online so I'm linking to it here.  Stefano Faita is wonderful, you may have caught him on Kampaï hosted by Mitsou?  "Bye, bye, mon cowboy."?  No?  Well, maybe you should check it out - great show, very informative and funny too.  He's not hard on the eyes and neither is Mitsou, so both The Man and I enjoyed watching this show together... back when we had a TV... and time to prioritize the TV... and the option to watch when the show was actually on... sigh.

So, here we go.

Easy Cassoulet
Adapted from The Allergic Kid

2 cans, 15 oz, white beans, such as Great Northern or Cannelini or white kidney
2 Tbsp olive oil from the garlic confit
2 onions, sliced and roughly chopped
5 carrots, diced roughly
3 stalks of celery roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic from confit, more or less to taste
1 Tbsp dried, whole rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp liquid chicken bouillon, or veggie
S&P to taste
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Briefly sauté veggies and garlic, then add 5 cups water, beans, rosemary and bay leaf.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Garlic Confit
1 head of garlic, broken apart and peeled
enough EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to cover the garlic
- use the smallest pot you have that will accomodate the garlic.  Cover with EVOO and heat on medium low heat.  Once oil is very warm or hot-looking (mere minutes) turn it down to very low and simmer for 1 hour until garlic is brown.  OH MY...  There is an oven method for this as well.

My garlic simmering with dried, whole rosemary.  Next time, I`ll do more garlic at once.

** in a hurry? Simmer for less time, just to heat and cook the vegetables to your desired doneness.

** making this a second or third time?  Use more or less garlic and water to your desired taste.  Add different vegetables that you like to make it your own.  Try a can of diced tomatoes.  Chop a fresh tomato or two.  Let me know how that goes and what you tried.
Man, you could give this stuff away as gifts!

This can be a vegan recipe easily, it`s high protein and low fat (you can use less oil than in the recipe above).  It can be very economical.  It can be doubled for a big batch.  It can be coddled in a big mug on a cold winter day.  It seems versatile to me and one I`m going to keep in my repetoire.


  1. Rana, the trick to soft beans is to make sure your dried beans aren't old. The older they are the longer they take to cook to the appropriate softness. This goes for lentils too.

    I love all the pictures.


    1. Thanks for the big tip. The problem for me has been with lentils too, ha ha.

      Yeah, the pictures are comin' along, eh?! I improved a bit and find myself at another plateau. Not sure of the next step to improve in that area, but it'll come. I'm not worried about it.