My husband just confirmed this by reminiscing about Friday's meal with a glazed look of a smitten man. He told me that he's so excited because we get to have leftover cassoulet for dinner all week. If you have ever had cassoulet then you know that the only thing better than cassoulet is leftover cassoulet.
My camera has bitten the dust so the pics are via my phone. The thing is, cassoulet has a face only a mother could love anyway, so it's really just fine. I didn't get a pic of the completed, crusted cassoulet either. Boo, so I borrowed one from Food52. I very was busy serving and my good friend Lynn decided to bring an organic cucumber vodka for our before dinner cocktail, so by dinner time I was a very relaxed.
|My sweet husband built me my dream dining table!|
|Beautiful chicory for the salad|
Our dessert was slated to be Chocolate Pecan Pie but after a polling of my friends and considering my Dad's diabetes, I chose a lower sugar dessert. Ms. Dupree's Caramel Cream Pecan Crust Pie (pgs. 527 & 514) was INSANE. A short crust of pecans, flour, butter, and a bit of sugar are pulsed into a dough, pressed into a pie pan with a removable bottom and baked. The filling is like a panna cotta-gelatin is bloomed in warm cream, a caramel is made and mixed into cream and poured into the shell and cooled. The crust recipe alone is worth running to buy Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking right now! I did have to bake a little longer than suggested, but my oven is bi polar. I cut back a bit on the sugar in the crust (for my Dad) and made a quick caramel sauce to drizzle over top for my other guests and myself. This one will have a post all it's own, it is THAT GOOD.
It was a night of stories and laughter and great food shared with people I love.
Ode to Dixie Cassoulet
Freezes perfectly. Feel free to divide the recipe into oven-ready vessels and freeze right in them! You can save the breadcrumb step for when you pull one from the freezer.
1 recipe simple beans (Simple Beans)
1 recipe confit chicken thighs from (Confit on the Cheap (Cassoulet Pt. 1) skin and bones removed, meat pulled into bite sized chunks
2 cups homemade stock, nice and strong (I made turkey stock from my leftover Toikey!)
2 cups white wine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 lbs garlic sausage (I have successfully used expensive French style garlic sausage, Bangers from Whole Foods-awesome, and Boar's Head bratwurst in a pinch. All excellent!)
2 lbs. country style pork ribs*** I recommend preparing the ribs well in advance to save on time!
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
5 cups panko breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup drippings/preserving fat from the confit
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the stock, wine and tomato paste in a large pot over medium high heat and dissolve the paste well. Let simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside.
Prick the sausages, put in a saute pan with touch of oil and brown well. Remove from pan, slice into bite sized chunks. Set aside.
This can be a great meal in itself! Double the amount of ribs (and liquid to braise). Set half aside for your cassoulet and douse the rest with your favorite bbq sauce (hoisin is excellent here as well!) and put back into a HOT oven (500 degrees) and let the ribs glaze well. You'll have dinner tonight and be ready to go for your cassoulet at you leisure.***
|Browning the ribs|
In a sauté pan add confit drippings/fat and garlic, sauté until softened. Remove from heat and stir in the panko. Add salt, pepper & fresh parsley. Set aside.
|Third layer before the breadcrumbiness|
Note: You can do the breadcrumb step as many times as you like. If your cassoulet is a bit too soupy for you, add another layer of crumbs and push away!
|This mostly closely resembles our finished dish. Break on through.|
Thanks for taking the cassoulet ride with me. Tonight is "the big game" (oh, I hate that name) and we are having chili. Simple. One pot. Yum! It doesn't always have to be a lengthy process. Sometimes it's just plain ole good eatin'.