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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oui, oui! Cassoulet!

Maybe it was the wine, or the fact that this is a French dish, or just simply the fact that frequently these days I get all the ingredients for a relatively complex dish only to discover all the staples I thought I had, I didn't, but whilst making this dish the other day, I remembered the motto from the adorable movie, Ratatouille: "Anyone can cook!"

Which, of course, must be said in a Fronsh axont. Anyways, it's a good dish for that motto because, honestly, anyone can make it, with almost any kind of ingredients as long as you stick to some basics: beans and fowl with some sort of pork product. There are sure to be purists out there but I was comforted to know that, without sausage or even bacon, this meal can absolutely be a stunner with simply a shit load of dark meat chicken and some delicious black forest ham.

Anyways, on to the meal! If you want the ~original~ version of where I got my cassoulet recipe, saunter on over to this site here. If you want to be a kitchen warrior who, like the honey badger, just doesn't give a shit, stay right here, sweet-cheeks.

serves 5-10 depending on how gluttonous your friends and family are

4oz black forest ham
2tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
10 pieces dark meat chicken, (I had 6 drumsticks and 4 thighs because I am insane)
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped 1/2" thick
2 carrots, chopped 1/2" thick
2 stalks celery, chopped 1/2" thick
4 cloves garlic, chopped up
4 springs parsley, tied up
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 small can tomato paste
1lb great northern white beans, soaked 6 hours minumum, overnight maximum
chicken boullion
2 cups breadcrumbs, panko, or crushed up crackers because you forgot you were out of panko
1 cup parmesan

So. Preheat oven to 400. Heat up your pot to medium or a little higher, and throw in your ham to heat it up and get it all gorgeous looking and bubbly. This is the ham I used, by the way, from Costco:


Remove the ham from the pot, chop up coarsely and set aside. Heat up the butter and oil together and once they're all golden and melty together, add your chicken. You will feel like you are looking down into a small round massacre site, there is so much goddamn meat:

Here are my drained beans, set aside and ready to go. I actually parboiled mine a bit, but it's not necessary. If you do, you will end up having to use a baster to suck out some of the water later and will end up squirting some of it on the wall beside your stove and it shall drip down into the unreachable depths and you will consider giving up, crying and getting drunk, but instead you perservere. I guess the moral of this tale is don't parboil your beans. Just... don't.

"Anyone can cook!"

ANYWAYS. Now that your chicken is browned, add the ham back to it (see that pretty chopped up ham bit just left of 6 o'clock in the picture below?), and add your veggies and herbs. Toss around a bit, cooking down for about 5-10 minutes.

Add your tomatoes and tomato paste. Now it REALLY looks like a massacre in there!

Let that cook down a bit too. Now, over at the Amateur Gourmet, he just filled the pot with water, but I added chicken boullion powder to mine. See, it looks like someone peed in the pool:

Why do I continue to use such disgusting imagery in a food post? I don't know. Sorry, mom.  So, fill your pot until the water/broth/whatever covers the beans. Thanks to all my chicken, doing this made the pot insanely full, and I nearly had a heart attack.

Luckily for me, I had this to calm me down.

Bring all that stuff to a boil, then cover and put in the oven for about an hour. Remove it from the oven, throw your bread crumbs/panko/crushed up crackers because you forgot you were out of panko and drizzle with olive oil. You're supposed to drizzle melted butter over it but the previously used 4tbsp of fat made me opt for the more heart healthy version, plus who can fucking tell?

"I can fucking tell," whisper about 3578948 angry people. Haha yeah right! If I had 3578948 people reading this blog I would have earned WAY more than three dollars and seventy cents by now.

Okay, so put it back in the oven for about 15 more minutes. Apologize to your family that you will be eating around 9pm because for some reason in your head cassoulet takes 45 minutes to make instead of over 90 minutes. Remember, suddenly, that you're thinking of coq au vin, not cassoulet. Pour another glass of red wine.

Now, once you pull that bad boy out, cover with parmesan cheese, because that will make up for not using butter before, fat-content-wise.

Pop back in for another 5 minutes. Remove, give it a good stir and voila!

Dish up and devour!

"Anyone can cook!"

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