Cassoulet Recipe

Cassoulet Recipe - Personal Chef Fort Lauderdale
Temperatures are dropping and it is getting cooler) this traditional dish will be sure to please everyone (Vegetarians excluded)

Cassoulet is a traditional rich bean and meat stew from the Languedoc region in sout west France. Three towns in particular claim to be the birthplace and to make the best versions. They are Toulouse, Castelnaudary, and Carcassonne. Each one prepares the dish slightly differently. In Castelnaudary they use haricots (white beans) with fresh pork, knuckle, ham, pork sausage and rind. When in Toulouse your stew will come with confit (preserved) duck or goose and in Carcassonne they add chunks of mutton.

Making a confit of duck or goose is time consuming. You can by them in some upscale shops. In my version I use more easily found “everyday” foods. This is afterall a peasant dish. A cut up chicken (smoked or un-smoked both work) replaces the confit and kielbasa replaces the strong garlic sausages. This still makes a fantastic one pot meal that fills the house with aromas that make you mouth water.
1pound/450g dried navy beans or Great Northern
2 ½ quarts/2.5L water
bouquet garni (2 sprigs of parlsey, 2 branches of thyme and bay leave tied in cheese cloth)
2 medium onions, one cut in a large dice
whole cloves
1 head plus 5 cloves of garlic
2 ounces/60g pork rind, cut into strips
2 pounds/900g chicken, cut into 8 pieces with giblets
1 teaspoon/5ml sea salt
½ teaspoon/2ml black pepper
4 ounces/115g thick sliced bacon, cut into small pieces
2 carrots, cut in a large dice
14 ounce/400g can whole tomatoes, drained, coarsely chopped liquid reserved
2 tablespoons/30ml tomato paste
⅛ teaspoon/.5ml dried thyme, crumbled
1 pound/450g Kielbasa
1 cup/225ml fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup/59ml chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 400F/204C/Gas Mark 6
Place beans in large pot add water, cover and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered for 2 minutes. Cover and let sit for 1 hour. Bring the bean back to a simmer. Stick one of the onions with the cloves. Add it along with the bouquet garni, 1 head garlic, pork rind (if using) and giblets to beans. Reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered, adding water if necessary, until tender, 1 ½ hours. Drain beans reserving liquid. Discard herbs and vegetables. Chop giblets and pork rind; mix with beans in large bowl. Add salt and pepper. Fry bacon in large heavy saucepan over medium heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels, and add to beans. Place chicken in the pan used to cook the bacon. Brown on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Pour off any fat and reserve. Add carrots and remaining onions. Add to the same saucepan cook until softened about 5 minutes. Mince 5 cloves garlic, add to pan, and cook 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste and 1 cup/250ml bean liquid and scrape brown bits from bottom of pan. Layer Add ⅓ bean mixture to the dutch oven. Layer half of the chicken, kielbasa and pork rind. Repeat the process ending with beans. Sprinkle the thyme into the bean liquid. Pour in enough liquid to cover the beans. Srpead bread crumbs and parsley. Drizzle with reserved fat to help crisp up. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or crumbs have formed a crust; break the crumbs with the back of a spoon. Lower the heat to 350F/176C/Gas Mark 4. Return to oven for 15 minutes. Break the crust again and check to see if more bean liquid is needed. Return to oven for another 15 minutes or crust reforms. Remove from oven and serve with a green salad and crusty bread.