Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables

cassoulet-6759

This cassoulet was a great recipe to delve into traditional French cooking. It is also my recipe choice for this week’s Food Matter’s Project!

Cassoulet can be made into a week-long project like Julia Child’s recipe or you can choose to conquer this quicker version by Mark Bittman. It is more of a fall/winter dish {not so much April in Miami} as it is extremely hearty and filling, but Bittman makes it lighter by omitting the “cassoulet typical” pork rinds/goose fat and adding more veggies. We served it at a dinner party with our close friends last night and it was a hit!

*Don’t forget to read to the end of this post for information on my giveaway: 4 traditional Cassoulet bowls from Le Creuset!

Fun facts about Cassoulet:
  • The term cassoulet is derived from the name of the handmade cookware it is made in, called a cassole
  • The english word casserole is derived from the word cassole {I love this!!!}
  • The origin of the cassoulet is Southwestern France, the region Languedoc
  • There are many versions of cassoulet. The native French like to compete, even argue, whose is best (similar to a chili cook-off here in the US!)
  • A traditional cassoulet cooks, cooks, and cooks for hours covered in breadcrumbs or slices of french bread to create a crusty top.

Mark Bittman’s recipe cooks in as little as 40 minutes to as much as a couple of hours, depending on the method you choose. I chose the slow cooking method and even threw it in the oven with panko breadcrumbs on top.

 

I also made homemade French bread to go with the Cassoulet. Recipe found here.

GIVEAWAY!!!

Cassoulet is traditionally made in a cassole, which I was very tempted to buy, but refrained. Holy expensive.

What I DID find are these adorable cassoulet bowls from Le Creuset. I thought they would be so much more fun to give away than keep for myself. πŸ™‚

One winner receives 4 individual 26 oz. cassoulet bowls from Le Creuset in flame

**Purchase these bowls here**

(contest ended April 2012, thanks to those who entered and congrats to the winner!)

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Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables serves 6

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matter’s Cookbook
*see also Whole Duck Cassoulet for a less “healthy” version
Β 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian Sausages in casings, bone-in pork chops, confit duck legs, fresh duck breasts, or a combination {I used 1 sweet italian sausage, 1 spicy italian sausage, 2 bone in pork chops, and 1 duck breast… which I bet was more than 1 lb.}
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic {i used 2}
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1 in length {I used 3}
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 in pieces
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; include their juices)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups cooked or canned white beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 2 cups stock, dry red wine, bean cooking liquid, or water- more as needed {I ended up using at least 3 cups vegetable stock to cook the beans with the meat and 1/2 cup dry French red wine during the step where you add the tomatoes.}
  • pinch of cayenne, to taste

1. Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. A minute later, add the meat and cook, until deeply browned on all sides, 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat

{for the duck breast I cut the fat/skin off and rendered it in the pan so I could cook the meats in the duck fat instead of oil}

 

2. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, and zucchini; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Coke until softened about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their liquid, the reserved meat, and the herbs. Bring to a boil. Add the beans and bring to a boil again, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but continuously. Cook for about 20 minutes, adding the stock when the mixture gets thick and the vegetables are melting away, about halfway through cooking.

 

3. Fish out the meat, remove the bones and skin as needed, discard the bay leaves. Chop the meat into chunks and return to the pot along with the cayenne. Cook for another minute or two to warm through, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve.

SLOW COOKED CASSOULET: {method I used}

Start with dried beans. After browning the meat in step 1, leave it in the pan and add 8 ounces dried white beans (they will cook faster if soaked overnight ahead of time) and enough stock to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle bubble. Cover tightly and cook, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. Meanwhile in a separate pan with another 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cook the vegetables as directed in step 2. When the beans are beginning to get tender, add the vegetable to the pot of beans along with the tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle bubble. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are fully tender, adding more liquid as necessary to keep them covered by about an inch. This will take anywhere from 15-60 minutes depending on the age of your dried beans.

*** After the slow cooking method above I topped the cassoulet with panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and cooked in the oven on 375Β°F for 30 minutes. This is closer to a traditional cassoulet method from what I have read, but of course takes even longer. I thought it was worth it!

See how the other members of the Food Matter’s Project made their take on Bittaman’s Cassoulet here.

Bon appetit!

Related: You might also like Vegetable au vin Coq last week’s Food Matter’s recipe

 

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::: keelymarie :::

96 Replies to “Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables”

  1. I love the fun cassoulet facts and the recipe. It’s good to have a quicker version of this recipe than Julia’s sometimes.

  2. Umm… now that I saw how delicious this recipe looks with all the meat in it, I kind of regret not using the real deal in mine. Your homemade French bread looks delish! The whole time I was eating the soup, I kept wishing I had some bread to go with it.

    1. This was my first bread making experience and I was shocked it turned out. I skipped like half of the last steps and used rapid rise yeast so it could have been a flop but it was delish. And yes this cassoulet needed some French bread for sure.

  3. Your version looks way better than mine! I should have included the meat. Le Creuset?! I’m in! Just tweeted.

  4. Great choice with this week’s recipe Keely! I wish I had thought to grab some crusty bread when I was shopping for all of the other ingredients. Also, totally just tweeted to enter your giveaway :-).

  5. I really have to try this again, staying closer to the original recipe. I really like the idea of adding breadcrumbs on top and baking the whole dish.

  6. Hey! I love your blog. It’s colorful, and very relateable. I just tweeted about the giveaway and liked you on facebook πŸ™‚

    Chelsea

  7. Great choice Keely! This was delicious- and could be done in so many ways! I love the fun facts- we should definitely try that with more recipes. A good way to learn!

  8. Wohooo I also signed up for emails – will make one if the recipes and send you a pic of the outcome πŸ˜‰

  9. Thanks for picking a really yummy recipe. Although, I did not include the sausage, this was a wholesome filling meal.

  10. I just joined the food matters project! And I’d love to win this set. Thanks for the giveaway! Just followed you on wordpress.

  11. Good choice this week, Keely. I felt very rustic with my cast iron pot full of beans and veggies sitting on the table with my crusty bread and salad. My only regret? Not making my own bread–yours looks great.

    Liked you on facebook–would love to be entered to win πŸ™‚

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