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Welcome to the Home Ec Section. Matters of the family sometimes bring joy and other times bring grief. But it is never trivial: Family matters! Feel free to discuss topics such as the sanctity of marriage; the awesome responsibility of raising children; the struggles of communication problems; the grief of losing a loved one; or anything else that relates to the home and family. However, due to the more personal nature of this section, I ask that you would be especially thoughtful of the readers' feelings. My earnest hope and prayer is that the discussions in this section will help families grow in the love of Christ.

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Cassoulet

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  • Cassoulet

    Back when I first discovered it, I doubt few people in America had ever heard the word before. With food / cooking shows being so popular, I'm guessing the word is more familiar to Americans these days. For those here who still don't don't don't what it is, here's the results of a Google search on "cassoulet definition":
    Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole containing meat, pork skin and white beans, originating in southern France. It is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. Wikipedia

    Main ingredients: Meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck, sometimes mutton), pork skin, white haricot beans

    Place of origin: France


    One of the things this definition omits is that there's usually a critically-important crust on the top of this dish. It's usually fresh bread crumbs tossed with olive oil and maybe a touch of savory spice, then used to top the cassoulet at the last minute under the broiler. The resulting dish is crunchy on top with lots of umami from meat and beans underneath it. This is what peasant farm houses used to do with leftovers.

    Fast forward to me first discovering the word two decades ago, via a recipe posted in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. I have been making it since then, and everyone I've served it to has complimented the dish. It looks simple - and from the ingredient list, it is - but there are a few tricky parts. I'm going to repeat this recipe in the following post. Everything comes from a web application I've built to store, share and comment on the recipes I make - so the information represents a few decades of tweaking and eating...

    I need to mention that this is a cheap/simple cassoulet recipe; it's made for people who want to know what the deal is, rather than knowing exactly how to make an authentic dish. Anyone who's curious should search for something more authentic - and I have a few links I can post if requested
    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

  • #2
    DESCRIPTION:

    A simple recipe which takes practice to get right. Onions cut just-so, fresh croutons that you could eat all by themselves, sausage and beans and tomatoes that are a little juicy and not too tangy. It's literally a perfect one-pot meal

    NOTES:

    This is NOT a classic cassoulet recipe, which involves several kinds of meat, some kind of crunchy breadcrumb topping, and french snobbery. Instead, this recipe is something I found in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette 2 or 3 decades ago. It was written to introduce ignorant northeastern cooks to the French classic, and as such, it takes little more than an hour and has fewer ingredients.

    Still, this is one of my favorite recipes of all time. Substitutions can ruin this (or at least turn it into something different), so be careful. Pay attention to the equipment; it's specified to keep the mess down. Also, the key to having everything work out well is to be doing at least two things at a time; three if you can swing it (and with a little practice, you can do so easily).




    Origin: A newspaper article I lost more than a decade ago
    Prep Time: 1.25 hours
    Servings: 3 (for a single dish meal)
    Equipment: Colander, 5 qt Le Creuset or large deep non-stick skillet with a cover, toaster oven, non-stick fry pan

    • Cassoulet
    • 5 link(s) pork sausage(s) - not too spicy. The original recipe never specified what size the links should be. I've been using the 6-to-a-pound size (Peri, store-brand, etc)
    • 2 TBS olive oil - split
    • 2 whole onion(s) - medium-large, yellow, quartered, sliced thin along the pole (making curved strips)
    • 2 clove(s) garlic - crushed or minced
    • 14 1/2 oz canned tomatoes - 1 can, Delmonte, petite diced
    • 1 1/2 can(s) great northern beans - about 29oz total, rinsed well and drained. Small white or navy beans can be substituted...
    • 1 TBS fresh herbs - chopped
    • 1 leaves bay
      Croutons
    • 6 slice(s) bread - ciabatta or pugliese (but any chewy bread with lots of air pockets and a good crust works well) - cut into 3/4" cubes
    • 1/2 cup(s) olive oil
    • seasoning to taste - garlic salt works perfectly
      Garnish
    • fresh parsley for garnish - medium chop
    • scallion(s) for garnish - sliced thin, at an angle



    1. In the large enamelized 5qt pot over medium heat, add 1 TBS oil, and brown the sausages on all sides, about 10 minutes. Keeping the pan covered helps with time and doneness, and keeps the bottom from getting too black/crusty. Remove the sausages and set aside to cool slightly.

    2. Heat the toaster oven to 250F. Wipe the pot with paper towels, but if the sausages made a crusty mess, lightly wash/scrub it to remove this. The pot will be hot, so I usually "cool" it with a bit of warm water before taking a nylon scrubby to it. You're going to cook the onions in this, and you don't want stuff left from the sausage to turn the onions brown. (Alternately, you can cook the onions and the rest of the cassoulet in a different pot, but I do it this way to keep the mess down.)

    3. Put the washed skillet back on the stove, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium-low heat until warm but not smoking. Add the onions, and lightly saute. Stir occasionally to keep from browning. Doneness is key: they should still have a little texture and be almost unable to hold their shape. As this happens, slice the sausages into thinnish rounds, just shy of 1/4".

    4. While those things are happening, heat the frying pan over medium heat. In 2 or 3 batches, use the remaining olive oil to fry the bread cubes. Shake the pan or otherwise move the croutons around to get them toasted on multiple sides. Season with salt and anything else you want - but remember, this dish isn't strongly flavored; best to avoid funky spices until you've learned to love it as is. Place batches in a tray in the toaster over, to keep warm.

    5. When the onions are done, add the beans, tomatoes, sliced sausage, garlic, bay leaf, and herbs to the onions as the croutons are being made. Mix, cover the pan, and heat until the desired consistency is reached. This should be: wet but not soupy, beans are soft, and the onions have a very light texture to them. In any case, everything will have been cooked by now, so you can stop cooking when you're too hungry to keep working...

    6. Ladle into wide-mouthed bowls. Top with scallions and lots of croutons. Dust the rim of the bowl with dried parsley if desired. Serve immediately, passing around leftover croutons if they exist. This usually makes 3 servings as a single-dish meal, but you could stretch it to 4 by serving it with a green salad. A medium body red wine goes with this perfectly...

    I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

    Comment


    • #3
      Honestly, the way the page copies from my app and pastes to this site is pretty interesting. I apologize for the formatting weirdness...
      I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Whateverman View Post
        Honestly, the way the page copies from my app and pastes to this site is pretty interesting. I apologize for the formatting weirdness...
        You created two threads with the same name - it's a problem with the board --- it doesn't look like you posted, so you post again, then there are two....

        If it "hangs", just hit F5 and wait a minute, then see if it posted. It's frustrating. Want me to delete the other thread?


        ETA: Sparko got it!
        Last edited by Cow Poke; 06-12-2020, 03:18 PM.
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          You created two threads with the same name - it's a problem with the board --- it doesn't look like you posted, so you post again, then there are two....

          If it "hangs", just hit F5 and wait a minute, then see if it posted. It's frustrating. Want me to delete the other thread?


          ETA: Sparko got it!
          Weird! I've seen the notification at the top of the forum pages, about a post "hanging". I've never seen that happen myself.

          What I HAVE seen is a message in Chrome saying something like "the forum requires that you wait 60 seconds between each post", etc. I only clicked the button once, got the message, and than tabbed off to do something else. I must have come back and clicked it again a few minutes later.

          By the way, this is off-topic, but I get that "wait 60 seconds" notice a lot. Most of the time I ignore it, and the thing I've posted eventually appears in the forum. I suspect something is doing a POSTBACK twice, even though I click the post/submit button once. This is a page design issue.

          For the web dev geeks here, I'll use Fiddler in the next few days and see if I can track down the culprit...
          I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

          Comment


          • #6
            Web debugging aside:

            Since having discovered the first recipe in this thread, I've tried several others, with the goal of finding something more authentic. Despite what the Wiki description above says, I've never actually come across a cassoulet recipe with pork skin as an ingredient. This could be due to me being an American, and most of the recipes I've seen have been Americanized away from the French tradition.

            Traditional recipes often take an entire day of casual cooking, with different meat sources added in different steps. Some of these don't appeal to me in the least, such as duck fat or confit. Also, i tend to not be a fan of large beans of any type (cannelini, kidney, etc) - so the recipes I've tried avoid both of these things.

            Slightly more-traditional but still simplified is one I found at Bon Appetit several years back. It produces a dish that almost doesn't taste like the ingredients in it. Chorizo is spicy, and beans can be mealy; the tomato paste, garlic and anchovies have flavors which can be strong on their own. When combined together like this, however, the result is amazing; even people who aren't sure whether they'll like it have told me it was very good.

            https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/ch...bean-cassoulet

            Please note: that recipe makes an insane amount of food. 3 cups of dried beans should be a red flag to anyone who's been cooking for a while. Also, the ingredients specify gigante beans, which I've never seen/found except at specialty shops - so I made some changes to the recipe: I've halved it, and substituted dry white navy beans. Also, feel free to add more bread crumbs than the recipe calls for, because toasted savory breadcrumbs are awesome. In the post below this is my version of the recipe, again copied/pasted from my app.
            I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

            Comment


            • #7
              DESCRIPTION:

              This is a rich and satisfying recipe, screaming out for a cold crunchy salad and a nice glass of red wine. It has flavors that aren't immediately identifiable but are deliciously savory nonetheless.

              NOTES:

              I was looking for recipes that use chorizo, because I love the stuff, but needed something good to use it in. However, I have issues with big beans (gigante, cannellini, kidney, etc); they remind me of grubs, or something no one should ever consider putting in their mouths. So, the first thing I did when I found this recipe was substitute small navy beans for the gigante beans. The second thing was to cut it in half; 3 cups of dried beans (in the original recipe) makes a hell of a lot of food.

              The recipe here represents the halved amount, and is now a favorite of mine. It's been rewritten from the original, including changes from the previous two times I've made this...




              Origin: Bon Appetit
              Prep Time: About 3 hours
              Servings: 4 large
              Equipment: 3.5 quart enameled oven-safe dish with a cover, large pot to boil/soak beans in, large cast iron skillet

              Cassoulet

              • 1 1/2 cup(s) great northern beans - dry
              • 2 TBS olive oil - extra virgin
              • 2 link(s) chorizo - Gaspar's, about 1 pound total, cut into 1/4" half rounds
              • 1 whole leek(s) - white and light green parts only, cut into 1/4" rounds
              • 1/2 whole onion(s) - finely chopped
              • kosher salt to taste
              • black pepper to taste
              • 3 clove(s) garlic - thinly sliced
              • 2 fillet(s) anchovies - packed in oil, drained, chopped
              • 1/2 TBS tomato paste
              • 1/2 TBS paprika - smoked
              • 1 1/2 cup(s) ls chicken stock
              • 14 oz canned tomatoes - half of a 28oz can of whole tomatoes, with juice, crushed by hand
              • 4 sprig(s) fresh thyme - leaves stripped
              • 1 leaves bay
              • 1 sprig(s) fresh rosemary - stripped, chopped

              Topping

              • 3 TBS olive oil - extra-virgin, plus a little to drizzle on top
              • 2 cup(s) bread crumbs - fresh, crumbled/chopped from about 4 slices of bread. More is better than less...
              • salt to taste
              • black pepper to taste
              • 1/2 cup(s) fresh parsley - flat leaf, chopped
              • 1 tsp lemon zest - finely grated


              Preparation

              Place beans in a large pot and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

              Drain beans. Add fresh water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender but not mushy, 30 minutes (time will vary depending on size and age of beans). The texture of the beans at this point will roughly match their texture at the end of the recipe. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup bean broth.

              Preheat oven to 450°. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a 3.5qt Le Cruset over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until golden all over, 7–8 minutes. Transfer chorizo to a plate and set aside.

              Place 1 Tbsp. oil, leek, and onion in same pot used for the chorizo. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and light golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and anchovies; stir 1 minute to break down anchovies. Add tomato paste and paprika; stir constantly until paste is caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add reserved 1/2 cup bean broth, beans, chorizo (and any accumulated juice), chicken broth, tomatoes, thyme, bay and rosemary; stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil.

              Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Partially move the cover to one side, and bake for another 15 minutes until beans are very tender.


              Breadcrumb Topping

              Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

              Sprinkle breadcrumbs over beans and drizzle with extra olive oil. Bake cassoulet until breadcrumbs are browned and liquid is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes. Sprinkle parsley and lemon zest over just before serving.


              I can solve the problem of evil without interfering with anyone's free will. So can your God, but he refuses. This is why I'm His moral superior.

              Comment

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