Monday, February 12, 2007

Cassoulet Kind of Thing

When we were in Paris, I had cassoulet, one of my favorite winter dishes. The beans, the duck, the, pork, the denseness. You know that a good cassoulet could keep a village alive for the winter. When you are home its different. Finding and putting together all of the ingredients, particularly the duck, has always been hard for me. So, cassoulet like substitute is something I always like to make. This latest variation, one of many I have done, was particuarly tasty, not particuarly difficult to prepare, and looked like something when done. The only downer is that is takes about 2 1/2 hours to cook.


One large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed

2 pounds stew beef in 1" cube (I get mine cut at the butcher)
1 pound "hot" sausage, meat, removed from casings and partially pulled apart
Olive Oil for sauteeing

2 cans cannellini beans
one cup of carrots, cut into small pieces

2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounce), crushed in your hands
2 cups red wine

1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon of thyme
bay leaf
salt to taste

Bread crumbs


Large Skillet
Large pot (or coverable skillet) to put all that stuff in


Cover the beef, salt liberally and brown in the skillet. Set aside. Brown the sausage and set aside. Sautee' the onions and garlic (I like to add the garlic late in the process). Add the beef and sausage. Add the tomatoes, crushing them with your fingers. Add the wine. Add the thyme, bay leaf and white pepper. Once it boils, place the stove on low and let sit, uncovered, probably for at least one and a half hours.

After this, add the carrots. Let cook another 15 or twenty minutes or so. By this time, the meat should be pretty tender. The pot can be covered at this time. You may also have to add a bit of water to stop the mixture from drying out. Near the end of the cooking process, when the beef is quite soft, add the cannellini beans. They should be washed before being put in.

Serve in small bowls. I topped the mix with bread crumbs (homemade foccacia bread crumbs, I should add, which actually really helped the whole thing!

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