French Food - How to Make Cassoulet (Bean Stew)
What is cassoulet?
Cassoulet (French Bean Stew)
Cassoulet is a classic French bean stew from the Languedoc region. Traditionally, it is made with white beans, duck confit, ham hocks, pork shoulder and French pork sausage. If you make the confit yourself it can take two days and if you use the traditional ingredients they can be difficult to find and rather expensive.
I eliminate the duck, substitute bacon for ham hocks, use fresh Italian or Polish sausage in place of French sausage, etc. I still soak the beans overnight and I use Great Northern beans because they are readily available.
I also add some ketchup and a little brown sugar, but that is just my own personal taste. This is a hearty dish, so I generally just serve it with some crusty bread and a glass of my favorite wine. Bon appetit.
Soaking the Beans:
1 Lb. of Great Northern or Navy Beans
½ Lb. Lean Pork Stew Meat
½ Lb. Italian Sausage
½ Lb. Thick Sliced Bacon cut into one inch strips
1 Large Onion peeled and chopped
½ Cup Chopped Carrots
6 Cloves of Garlic Minced
1 Can of Chicken Broth
½ Cup of Ketchup
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar (optional)
1 Bay Leaf
½ Tablespoon Dried Thyme
½ Tablespoon Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Rinse and sort the beans in a large pot. Add cold water to cover plus two inches more and let them sit overnight.
- The next morning, bring the pot of beans to a boil and simmer them for about two hours until they are tender. You can add a teaspoon of salt during this process.
- Boil the sausage until it is cooked through and then brown it in a little oil in a frying pan. When it is cool, cut it into 1/8-inch thick slices.
- Cook the bacon in a large frying pan until some of the fat is released but do not brown it.
- Drain the beans and place them in a large covered roasting pan. Add the sausage slices and use a slotted spoon to add the partially cooked bacon.
- Brown the pork stew meat in the bacon fat and add it to the roaster too.
- Sauté the chopped carrots and onions in the same fat and then add the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Then add the chopped tomatoes, ketchup, minced garlic and brown sugar. Return the contents to a boil and add it to the roaster also.
- Finally, rinse the pan with the chicken broth and add it too.
1. Cover the pan and place it in a 300 F preheated oven. Bake for about 4 hours or until the beans are tender.
2. About once an hour, you should stir the beans with a large slotted spoon and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve with some crusty French bread and a glass of red wine.
How to Make Cassoulet
Crock Pot Cassoulet
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