Cassoulet-(ish)

Happy 2016!

After being away for the holidays, I am feeling quite at home once again in my kitchen and loved spending the better part of the morning making this dish.

I experimented with some ideas a friend gave me a month or so ago and decided to write out what I did for you all. Of course, make this dish your own, this is just a very general and economic version of the traditional recipe.

No rendered pork fat or duck confit found here. Just some nice local sausages, fresh herbs, a little wine, and lots of beans and veg! Very humble yet filled with that brand of stick to your ribs satisfaction. I only used about 2/3 a cup of wine, so there is plenty to enjoy during the process.

See recipe below and Bon Appetit!

Ingredients
Method

Cassoulet-(ish)

 
drizzle of veg oil
half dozen
local pork sausage, I used a plain toulouse style but you could use a variety, even chorizo
 
butter
1
onion, diced
4 small
yellow skinned potatoes, peel scrubbed and diced to about a 1/2" square
4 small
carrots, peels scrubbed and diced
3 cloves
garlic, crushed
2/3 cup
wine
1/2 tsp
fennel seeds
1/2 tsp
herbs de provence
pinch
red chile flakes, not needed if using spicy sausage
one stalk
fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 bottle/large can
organic tomato sauce
1 large can
organic diced tomatoes
1 litre
broth, I used homemade chicken bone broth but can use whatever broth you like
large can
beans, I use the bean medley. It has black eyed beans, cannellini beans, chick peas and kidney beans
1
bay leaf
 
salt and pepper to taste
 
fresh baby kale, added at the end
 
grated cheese, to finish



In a heavy bottomed pot or skillet, add a drizzle of the oil of your choice. Heat at medium.

While the skillet is being evenly heated, I take the sausage out of the casing and roll into little meatballs, about 1" in diameter.

Once all the meatballs are rolled add them one by one, I start a ring in the outside of the skillet and work my way in to the centre of the skillet and I found this way the sausage didn't overcook or burn. Once I had them all added, i turned them till they were browned on all sides. Once this is done, remove them to a plate with a paper towel on it to soak up some of the access oil.

In the same skillet, add a knob of butter and add the diced onion, turning the heat down to med-low and allowing the onions to caramelize to a light brown. Once they are there, add the diced potatoes, carrots and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, allowing them to all become golden and semi-cooked. Don't overcook these or they will become mushy in the crockpot.

Add all the spices and herbs and turn to coat all the ingredients in them. Cook for another minute. De-glaze the pan with the wine. For anyone who hasn't done this before it is really easy and not as scary as it sounds. You pour the wine into the pan with the ingredients still in it, the wine will fizz up a bit, you stir gently and scrap along the bottom of the pan and you will see that within a minute or so the pan will be clean from all the meaty grits that were cooked on from the sausage and onion, etc. These are packed full of flavor and you want to take them with you for the rest of this dish's journey.

Once this step is done, turn your heat off and remove skillet from heat.

Have a crockpot or dutch oven (basically a dish with a lid that can go in the oven if you aren't using a crockpot) ready. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, broth, bay leaf already in the pot and add the wined skillet ingredients to this tomato mixture. You can also add the sausage back in now. I add a few grinds of fresh salt and pepper and just let it stew on low for the day.If you aren't cooking in a crockpot, you can cook in the oven at 300° F for a couple hours.

When it was ready to be served, I added some fresh baby kale to the bottom of the bowl, then added the cassoulet and finished it with some nice manchego coarsely grated. I served it with crusty bread and highly recommend that if you aren't on a new years cleanse. I love that this dish is really versatile. It could easily be made vegetarian/vegan and you could add more grains or legumes to it. Lots of tasty meat combinations as well like chicken thigh with lardon.