Fabulous French Cassoulet #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on October 6, 2013

Cassoulet #SundaySupper | Webicurean

As we drift into the cooler months, our thoughts turn to soups, stews … hearty one-pot meals that simmer all day and fill the house with the aroma of something decidedly good. This week’s #SundaySupper is dedicated to those recipes, and Amy over at Kimchi Mom is hosting. I had a hankering for this fabulous French cassoulet, so that’s what we’re making today.

Cassoulet is a traditional French peasant dish of beans, meat, and herbs that originated in France’s Languedoc region some time in the 14th century. In his Histoire comique (free Kindle edition), Anatole French claimed that his favorite cassoulet had been cooking for 20 years, putting it in the pot-au-feu category, a dish simmering on the stove top through decades with daily subtractions and replenishments. (The Oxford Companion to Food, 1999.)  Fortunately we only need about 3 hours here.

The word cassoulet is derived from the glazed earthenware vessel (cassole) in which it cooks. While the haricot blancs (white beans) remain a constant, the meats can range from pork and mutton to duck confit and partridge. The version we’re cooking today is made with chicken and Polish sausage. Oh, and a little bacon is thrown in for good measure. This recipe is adapted from my old favorite, McCall’s Cooking School.

I have to say, this is a pretty sturdy and forgiving dish as well. In the middle of cooking, I had to run to the vet to pick up kitty. This should have taken 30 minutes, tops, so I dashed off after first popping this in the oven. Two hours later, which included a full 40 minutes of looking for parking, I returned. I was so worked up over the parking, it wasn’t until I was on my way back that I remembered my cassoulet! Sacrebleu! All the broth had evaporated, but since I hadn’t added the chicken yet, I poured in some more broth, and we were back in business. Phew!

Cassoulet #SundaySupper | Webicurean

First, you’ll need to soak the beans for 2 hours, then drain. Then add them to large, oven-proof pot, along with the water, one of the carrots, all the onions, the celery leaves, the herbs, garlic, peppercorns and the Better than Bouillon.  Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour.

Cassoulet #SundaySupper | Webicurean

In a large skillet, saute the bacon until it starts to crisp. Save the bacon grease, and put the bacon along with the remaining carrots into the bean pot, then transfer to a 350F oven for 30 minutes.   Meanwhile, start browning the chicken in the bacon grease, and continue until browned on all sides. This will take about 30 minutes.

Cassoulet #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Crush the tomatoes with your hands, and stir into the pot along with their juice. Add the chicken pieces, then place the sausage on top. Cover this and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the lid, then bake an additional 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Cassoulet #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Cassoulet is one of the most satisfying meals. Ever. Enjoy this with a tossed salad, some French bread, and a glass of wine!

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Cassoulet
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Cassoulet is a rich one-pot meal, made of beans, chicken, vegetables, and sausage slowly simmered with broth and herbs.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Great Northern white beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 carrots
  • 6 medium onions
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 tbsp Better than Bouillon (Chicken)*
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped celery leaves
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1½ tsp dried marjoram leaves
  • 1½ tsp dried sage leaves
  • 3-4 slices thick bacon
  • 4 lb roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 (1 lb) can peeled tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 lb Polska Kielbasa
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cover beans with water and let soak for 2 hours. Drain, then transfer to a large oven-safe pot or dutch oven, and add 4 cups of water.
  2. Pare and cut the carrots into large chunks. Add one carrot to the pot at this time.
  3. Peel the onions, studding 1 of the onions with the cloves. Add the onions to the pot along with the Better than Bouillon, bay leaves, celery leaves, peppercorns, garlic, and dried herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.
  5. Cut the bacon into pieces, and saute the bacon in a large skillet until it just starts to crisp up. Remove from pan and set aside, reserving the bacon grease. Add the bacon and remaining carrots to the bean pot, and transfer to the oven, baking uncovered for 30 minutes.
  6. While the pot is baking, brown the chicken pieces in the bacon grease, browning well on all sides.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, and add the undrained tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Add the browned chicken to the pot. Score the sausage, and place that on top of everything. Cover tightly, and bake 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Notes
*Feel free to substitute chicken stock for the water and bouillon.

 

 

Let’s see what the others have cooked up for us!

“Take the chill off” Chilis, Soups, and Starters

“Put meat on your bones” Stews

“Make room for seconds” Main Dishes

“Can’t say no” Desserts

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here ? Sunday Supper Movement.

 

 

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