Category Archives: Legumes

Lighter French Cassoulet

Cassoulet, the name of the earthenware dish in which it is served, is an aromatic, hearty bean and meat stew with some aromatic herbs and spices, the flavor is subtle and delicate, and really comforting.
The key to a perfect cassoulet is the slow cooking process that tenderizes the meat and the beans and infuses the stew with its rich flavor. Your house will be filled with an incredible aroma that will get anyones stomach rumbling as soon as they walk thru the door.
There are many varieties of Cassoulet depending on your meat choices. My personal preference is smoked sausage, bacon, pork and chicken. You could go for Duck confit, but I find it too heavy so I have opted for the chicken instead.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

• 2 fresh small ham hocks
• 5 oz. diced smoked Bacon
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 pounds dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
• 2 small carrots, thinly sliced
• 1 medium onions, diced
• 1 celery stalk, sliced
• 2 Bay leaves
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
• 1 head of garlic, unpeeled, plus 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 glass of dry white wine
• 1 can chopped tomatoes
• 1/4 tsp. All spice
• 1 quart / 1 liter, chicken broth
• 4 parsley sprigs, 2 thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaf
• 4 chicken legs
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 4 pork sausages, your favourite kind
• 1 smoked kielbasa or other smoked sausage, or 2 small ones

METHOD:

• In a bowl, cover the beans with 3 inches of water and soak overnight.
• Add the bacon and ham hocks to a very large frying pan or pot and brown them all over.
• Remove and set aside.
• Add the carrots, onions and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, about 7 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and bay leaves.
• Add the all spice.
• Add the glass of wine.
• Add the head of garlic and the tomatoes and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the broth and the herbs and bring to a boil.
• Add the beans to the pan and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 2 hours.
• Pick out the ham hocks. Cut the meats into bite-size pieces; discard the bones, skin and gristle. Pick out the head of garlic and reserve.
• Put the meat back in with the beans.
• Transfer the beans and liquid to a casserole dish
• Preheat the oven to 180 ° C / 350° F
• Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet.
• Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper.
• Add the sausages and chicken legs to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over.
• Nestle the sausages, the chicken and the kielbasa into the cassoulet.
• Put the garlic bulb in the middle.
• Bake the cassoulet for 1 hour longer, until it is richly browned on the surface. Transfer to a rack and let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
• Serve with plenty of crusty french bread.

Enjoy!

Baked Beans, three cooking methods

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…Slow Cooker, Oven or Stove Top.

If you have never had home made Baked Beans before, you’re missing out on something very good and comforting. Seriously the first time I had them, I just couldn’t believe how a simple pot of beans could blow me away like that.

The ingredient list may seem long but it’s effortless to throw together.

Throw everything in a pot and that’s it. Dinner done, ok a couple of hours later. If you cook it in a crock pot you don’t even have to stay home.

I’ve given you the cooking times of the three common methods, crock pot, stove and oven. Which ever you prefer. Oven being the authentic way, but all just as good.

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Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 lb. white Beans , soaked overnight in plenty of water

1 tbsp. Olive Oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

4 oz. smoked bacon cut into cubes

2 Bay Leaves

1  2.5 oz can of Tomato Paste

2 tbsp. Pure Blackstrap Molasses

2 tbsp. Maple Syrup

1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp. Liquid Smoke

1 tbsp. Sweet Smoked Paprika

1 tbsp. stock concentrate, beef or chicken

1 thick slice of salted smoked pork (loin or shoulder), known also as Kasseler

2 tbsp. thick Dark Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. Himalayan Salt

Black Pepper

1/4 C. Tomato Ketchup

3 C. water

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Method;

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add diced bacon, garlic, and onion to pan and stir frequently until bacon begins to crisp, about 8-10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients.  The liquid should cover the beans by 1/2 inch. Add more water if necessary. Bring to a simmer.

Oven : Preheat oven to 300° F . Transfer to an oven proof dish and cover with foil. Cook without stirring, until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 6 hours. Check the beans every hour to see if you need to add more water, the beans should be saucy at all times.  For the last hour of cooking, uncover beans.

Slow Cooker : Transfer to slow cooker and cook on high for about 4-5 hours, depending on your slow cooker, so check.

Stove Top : Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours with the lid half on, check for liquid every now and then.

I like to serve the Baked Beans with home made bread.

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If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.