Friday, August 26, 2011

Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables

This hearty bean stew is a great recipe to make with summer produce. It uses tons of veggies, white beans, and a little bit of meat.

I used to make a Rachael Ray cassoulet type recipe that, while delicious, called for three pounds of meat and claimed to serve four (talk about hefty portions!). This Mark Bittman recipe makes about six servings and calls for just one pound of meat. I used one good quality sweet Italian sausage link and 3/4 of a pound of duck breast. When you're only buying one pound of meat, you can afford to splurge a little and buy something interesting! 

CSA Week 12:

In the box: 1 bunch carrots, 1 basket grape tomatoes, 2 pounds Sweet Girl tomatoes, 2 pounds French fingerling potatoes, 1 head garlic, 1 bunch basil, 1 pound summer squash, 1 basket blackberries, 1 basket strawberries

Let's see, this week I made pesto with the basil and used it as a dip for carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, and snow peas (from our garden). I admit, with no shame, to eating the last of the pesto with a spoon. :-)

Almost all of the tomatoes, all of the squash, and some of the carrots were used to make the cassoulet.

I used most of the potatoes and some of the garlic to make an awesome potato and black bean dish (recipe from one of my new favorite blogs, The Edible Perspective). I made a little more than it said so I added more of all the spices, not really measuring anything. It turned out fabulous - we just piled the potatoes and black bean mixture into bowls and topped with chopped tomato, sliced scallion, cilantro, and a little sharp cheddar cheese. Sometime I'm also going to have to make her vegetable filling from that same post!

Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables
adapted from Mark Bittman - Food Matters
serves 6

Notes: From personal experience, I can tell you that this soup freezes well and goes great with a side salad for lunch.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sausages, bone-in pork chops, confit duck legs, duck breasts, or a combination
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 leeks or onions, trimmed, washed, and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium zucchinis or 1 small head green cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chopped tomatoes, with their juice (canned are fine)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
4 cups cooked white beans (canned are ok), drained and liquid reserved in any case
2 cups stock, dry red wine, bean cooking liquid, or water, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meat and cook for about 10 minutes, turning as needed, until deeply browned on all sides. Remove from pan and drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat (add more olive oil if it doesn't look like 2 tablespoons).

Turn the heat down to medium. Add the garlic, leeks or onions, carrots, celery, and zucchini or cabbage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or so until the vegetables have softened.

Add the tomatoes and their liquid, the reserved meats, and the herbs. Bring to a boil. Add the beans. Bring to a boil again, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a steady but gentle simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. If the mixture becomes thick during this time, add a little more liquid. It should thicken up and the vegetables should get very soft and tender.

Remove the meat and place on a cutting board. Remove bones and skin as needed, then chop the meat into chunks, whatever size you want, and return to the pot, along with the cayenne. Cook for a few more minutes, just to warm the meat back up. Taste, adjust the seasoning as necessary, and serve.

1 comment:

  1. That looks great. I need to get a dutch oven one of these days!


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