Date: December 27th, 2012
Recipe: Page 492-493 of “How to Cook Everything”. The steps below are a summary, this dish is hard to screw up, so don’t worry about being too exact.
- Soak the beans overnight the day before
- Place the soaked beans into a pot with water just barely covering the beans and bring to a boil
- Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and tomatoes to the boiling beans
- While the beans are cooking, slice up your meat to your desired size.
- Roast the meat in the oven at 450, shaking the pan occasionally to unstick the meat
- (At this point I added a couple tablespoons of corn starch to the beans, to thicken them up. Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water before adding it to the hot beans.)
- When the meat is done roasting, mix it in with the beans. Keep the fat if you like.
- Top the bean/meat mixture with a mixture of bread crumbs and parsley.
- Bake the entire pan for 15-20 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.
- Eat it.
Modifications: I tweaked the ingredients a bit for this:
- Only used 1 pound of beans
- Cut out the lamb entirely as there was already an abundance of meat
- I didn’t use any slab bacon as the butcher didn’t have any. I don’t think this was a big deal to be missing.
- I used a little vegetable stock in the beans, rather than just water.
- I added corn starch later on to thicken the beans.
Time to table: 2 hours
Servings: Four family sized dinners.
Notes: I was very happy with my first attempt at cassoulet, it’s a dish I’ve loved at restaurants (Meritage and Heartland) and I wanted to try to recreate it at home. The flavor turned out great and the consistency ended up right where I wanted it after adding the corn starch. Some thoughts on the process:
- Cut back on the meat. I didn’t add all of the cooked meat to the pot as it was SO meaty. Use a little less.
- Use pork shoulder, but slow cook it first and then cut it up. The pork was tough and fatty, slow cooking it first would make it WAY better.
- Similarly, cook the sausages as whole links and then cut them after cooking
- Experiment with different vegetables in the beans. Tomatoes, onion, and garlic are a good base, but you could add a variety of other vegetables after that, not just carrots.
We shared this with our neighbors for dinner tonight and still made two freezer bags for dinners in the future, so it makes quite a bit. I’m going to try this again, but it will likely be next winter before I get around to it 🙂