Monday, March 14, 2011

This week's Goal: Learn to make Cassoulet

I'll serve this with my lovely aged cheddar and green onion buttery scones. Don will eat it but Jong won't. Too many beans.


This chicken and sausage cassoulet recipe is a modern update on the classic white bean cassoulet from Toulouse. This version evokes particularly complex and developed flavors by cooking certain ingredients separately, and then together. The result is an irresistible, hearty stew.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 25 minutes

* 1 pounds dried white beans, soaked, sorted, and rinsed
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 pound lardons (bacon strips)/regular bacon
* 2 large white onions, peeled, halved, and cut into
* 1 pound bulk pork sausage
* 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 pound chicken legs
* 2 pounds tomatoes, seeded and chopped
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1 quart chicken stock
* 1 bouquet garni (There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most recipes include parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Depending on the recipe, the bouquet garni may include basil, burnet, chervil, rosemary, peppercorns, savory and tarragon. Sometimes vegetables such as carrot, celery (leaves or stem), celeriac, leek, onion and parsley root are also included in the bouquet.)
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 2 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
* 4 teaspoons melted butter

Place the beans in a large saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring the beans to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook them until they begin to turn tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper to the beans and cook until the liquid has absorbed, about 25 additional minutes. Remove the beans from the heat, drain and discard any additional liquid, and set the beans aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the lardons for 5 minutes, until they turn brown. Transfer them to a plate. Add the onions to the pan and sauté them for 10 minutes, until they turn light golden brown. Transfer them to the plate with the lardons. Brown the sausage and transfer it to a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Drain all but 4 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the chicken breast pieces to the fat and brown them over medium-high heat. Transfer the chicken to the bowl with the sausage. Brown the chicken legs in the skillet and transfer them to the bowl.

Combine the lardoons/bacon, onions, sausage, chicken pieces and legs, tomatoes, wine, chicken stock, bouquet garni, garlic, tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper in a large casserole dish. Cover with a lid or foil, and bake the casserole for 25 minutes. Add the carrots to the casserole, cover, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Add the reserved white beans to the hot casserole and gently stir the mixture. In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs, parsley, and thyme with the melted butter. Sprinkle the seasoned bread crumbs over the casserole and bake it, uncovered, for 1 hour. Discard the bouquet garni and serve the cassoulet hot.

This chicken and sausage cassoulet recipe makes 12 large servings.

(May sub chicken for Duck or Lamb)


  1. mmm, cassoulet is tasty. I haven't had it in 6 years. We keep meaning to try it at a French restaurant here. Scott is a big fan of cassoulet with duck. I couldn't believe it when I saw him eat duck leg cassoulet since he doesn't like meat with the bone in it.

    I like cassoulet, but less so than him. I think it's because before it was served I had already eaten a cheese soufflet, pumpkin soup and a whole baguette. It in itself is not a light dish. I ate it until I was sure I was going to pop. I almost doubled over in pain. I couldn't finish it and I am not one to leave left-overs!

  2. I hope John at least has a bite! It's fun trying ethnic foods! Not to mention how much time goes into making it.


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