Learning to Cook · Miss Mary · Recipes

Learning to Cook, Sunday Dinner – Today Show Cassoulet Review

2016 Today 14Sunday dinner is special in most households.  We look for comfort for our families as we spend quality time with them. Taking the time to make something is a labor of love.  While easy enough to make, this Today Show recipe for Cassoulet is made partially on other days, and then assembled on one day to cook for 2 ½ hours in the oven.

When creating versions of a recipe, you have to READ the recipe else you’ll be a little jacked up when you go to make it.

Watching the video on 1/27, I knew that this was an inexpensive meal to make, and time consuming, BUT, it looked amazing.  Let’s face it, anything made with bacon, sausages and chicken is right up there with next to godliness.   The other good thing, Chicken thighs are an inexpensive cut of meat where you can pick it up and freeze till you need it.  Example this week at Aldi chicken thighs in the family pack were $.49/lb.  I picked up the family pack of 8 and it was $2.37.

I however did not have the dry beans and used the canned great northern beans.  Because of that, I sautéed the veggies first, used chicken broth to make the veggies softer, then added the beans at the end with all the other goodies.  There are ways to recreate recipes and hopefully get the same effect.  Just FYI, the recipe instructions and the video are very different.

Just a note on the beans, I don’t even know what a coco bean is, which is listed in the Today recipe, but they include Great Northern Beans as an option.  I believe they have the “coco” bean incorrectly noted.   I did research dry French white dry beans and the Great Northern Bean came up as one used most often in Cassoulets.

By the way, this dish is delicious!  There are a few things that I would change, as I note in the narrative, but the entire dish is just lovely.

Cassoulet

Beans – my version

  • 2 T. Extra Light Olive oil
  • 3 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 t. pepper
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 3 cups Simply Nature Organic low-sodium chicken broth

2016 Today12016 Today 15In a hot Dutch Oven, add the oil, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.  Sautee for 5 minutes till the veggies soften up.  Add ½ cup of the chicken broth, bay leaves, and cook for 5-7 minutes till soft.  Add the beans, 2 ½ cubs broth and the bouillon cube.

Simmer 25 minutes stirring every-so-often so as the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  When time is up, let the beans completely cool.  Then store them in your Cassandra Kitchen 32 oz. containers overnight or for a few days.

Sofrito

You’ll have a chance to use your Food Processor or Mini Chopper  for this recipe performing two techniques, chopping the vegetables and then after they are cooked, turning them into a paste.

A note regarding the onion – a large regular onion is too strong for this recipe.  I would use half of a regular yellow large onion or a sweet onion (Vadalia) but only ¾ of it.  Regarding the Tomato Paste, if you are big user of tomato paste just pick up a small can of it, if not, I purchased the Amore brand that comes in a tube.  I can then refrigerate the remainder.

2016 today 52016 today 7
Using your food processor or mini chopper, process the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in batches.  Pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess water.

In a large saute pan, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Add the veggies mixture and saute till soft, about 5 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick.  If you think  you need more oil, add 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.  Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine, then add the chicken broth.  Cook till tender.  Remove from heat and let it cool.

2016 Today 112016 Today 12Using your processor, blend the vegetables until a smooth paste forms. Place in a container till needed.  Can be overnight or a few days in the fridge (I made this on Thursday and used on Sunday).

2016 today 13Cassoulet

I had to go to work and my daughter finished this up for me.  Because of a realty showing on our house, this process couldn’t be started till much later than we would have liked.  Plus she couldn’t find a few of the things in the kitchen, so cooking sherry was substituted for wine, dry thyme was substituted, she was uncomfortable with the smoked bacon not rendering enough fat – that’s why I suggest just thick cut bacon.  We used chicken sausage from Caputos, not a fan – far too dry for any human.  This would however, according to the hubby, be delish with mild Italian sausage.  Not familiar with anyone that makes duck sausages.

When all was said and done, WOW was it good. It was comforting food but at 8:30p which for this dish, is a little late in the evening.  It’s even good the next day.

  • ½ pound thick-cut bacon, sliced into 2 x 1” slabs. This could also be just thick cut bacon.
  • 6 chicken sausages, or duck, or mild Italian, cut in half.
  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs
  • Salt
  • Sofrito
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Beans
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • A few sprigs of Thyme, or ¼ t dry thyme
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 2 T bread crumbs
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Temper all protein to room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking.

In a large Dutch oven, over medium-low heat, sauté the bacon rendering the fat. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the sausages and sauté to lightly brown the outside. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. Season the chicken thighs with salt, add them skin side down to the pan, sauté until golden brown and set aside.

In the same Dutch oven, put 1 cup of the Sofrito and deglaze with the white wine. Stir in the Beans and sachet of thyme and bay leaf. Arrange the bacon, sausages and chicken in the Dutch oven. Add the chicken stock, cover and bake in oven for 2½ hours.

Remove from oven, remove the lid and top the cassoulet with bread crumbs. Return to oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes (or until all protein is cooked through).

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