Thursday, February 10, 2011


Ever since Liza Garza, owner of local restaurant, Suze, made a cassoulet on The Next Food Network Star, I've wanted to try my hand at it.  When better to make it than yesterday, yet another snow day for us.  I love how fancy pants it sounds, yet cassoulets started out as peasant food in France.  It has since evolved into a popular comfort food dish and I can say, it's one of the best things I've ever made.  There are some very involved recipes out there so I found two that I pulled from, one being from Williams-Sonoma.  And here is what I came up with: 


2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 oz. pancetta, diced (or bacon or 1/2 lb of ham)
1 lb smoked sausages, 1/2" sliced on bias
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2 14 oz cans of canellini beans or great northern beans, drained
2 tbsp olive oil for sauteing, another 1/4 cup olive oil for panko/parm cheese mixture, although next time, I'll cut this in half...I think it left behind too much oil
1 1/2 cups panko
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Pour olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and begin to brown chicken, working in batches.  Brown the chicken, turning once on each side, for about 3 minutes per side.  Remove each batch and place it on a separate dish to rest.  

When chicken is done, add onions and garlic to the pot and saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft.  
Add pancetta and cook for 2-3 minutes.  
Add wine and cook until reduced by half.
Add stock, tomatoes, beans, and sliced sausage, stirring to combine.
Place chicken pieces into mixture and bring to a simmer.
Once it's come to a simmer, COVER the dutch oven, and place it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

While this is baking, mix together the following:  1/4 cup olive oil (again, next time I'll use far less), 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 cup panko, parsley, salt and pepper.  Once the initial 30 minutes is up, remove from the oven.  (NOTE:  the Williams-Sonoma recipe states to skim any fat off the surface at this point).  Now sprinkle the panko mixture on top, covering evenly, then bake UNCOVERED (my one mistake - still turned out delish) for another 30 minutes until the crust is golden and the cassoulet is bubbling on the edges.  Let the cassoulet stand for 15 minutes before serving.  

Serves 6 - 8 (not in my house)

** The Williams-Sonoma recipe has this cooking even longer...for yet another 30 minutes before putting on the parm/panko mixture, totaling 1.5 hours.  But my other recipe I referenced only had it cooking for 1 hour, which I thought was totally suffice.       

{Image via b/c if I posted a pic of my cassoulet, you would not be inclined to make it}


Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Oh yumm....should have read this before I went to the store!!!

JMW said...

Oh, that sounds so very good! Definite comfort food for these cold winter nights!

Pinecone said...

That sounds so good...I am going to make it next week!!

Tessa said...

Rustic, earthy French food is my favorite! This sounds soo good! Into my recipe queue it goes...
I took a few days off from reading blogs...I feel like I miss so much...Stella in the snow - magnifique! Your favorite plaid, moi aussi!! I'm trying to keep the whole French theme going in this comment in case you weren't catching on :) Happy (almost) Friday, Tiffany! xo, Tessa

Rachael said...

Yum! I'll have to try this recipe.