Easy Cassoulet

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My “easy” version of Cassoulet bears no resemblance to real French cassoulet. I know this now, because I’ve had real cassoulet recently in the beautiful village of Castelnaudary, in the Languedoc-Rouissillon region of southern France.
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The restaurant where we enjoyed cassoulet, is called Au Petit Gazouillis, and was chosen by my friend and favorite French guide Stéphane Gabart of My French Heaven when my husband and I were traveling with him this fall.

The cassoulet at this restaurant was the highest rated and we had lunch reservations. Stéphane takes this sort of thing very seriously!

What I loved about the restaurant was that it was a typical little bistro packed with tables, owned and run by a family, and filled with locals. And they only served cassoulet, at least for lunch. However, you could choose sausage, pork, and/or duck.

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It’s not all about the meat, however, because traditional cassoulet includes a large, white bean called lingots du Laugarais. They’re pictured below with the traditional cassoulet serving vessel, called une cassole.

Many ancient peasant dishes like cassoulet originated from utilizing whatever was leftover on the farm and fields, so it’s not surprising that there are so many variations of cassoulet.

Some use duck or confit, some use mutton, some use goose, some are topped with bread crumbs, and so forth. But one thing that’s always present in cassoulet are white beans. And that’s probably why I like it so much.

So here’s my version of cassoulet, that really isn’t like “real” cassoulet. It takes a little time make, much like a good stew, but it’s all worth it.
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Easy Cassoulet

2 chicken breasts, about 1 pound total
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil or bacon grease, as needed
14 ounces Polska kielbasa, cut into 3″ pieces
12 ounce package baby carrots
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Marsala or wine
1 – 15 ounce can strained, crushed or diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 if you prefer
Chopped parsley, optional

Cut the chicken breasts into 4 “uniform” pieces, and season them with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil or bacon grease in a pot on the stove over high heat. Brown the chicken pieces, about 4 at a time, until well browned, about 2 minutes.


Then turn them over and repeat. Place them In a medium-sized bowl, then repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.


Cut the sausages into 3″ pieces, and slash one side of the sausages three times, in parallel slices, going only about 1/4″ deep. Add a little more olive oil to the skillet if necessary. Brown the sausage pieces on both sides, which will take about as much time as with the chicken.


When the first batch has browned, add them to the bowl with the chicken, then continue with the remaining sausages.

Cook the carrots in boiling water until thoroughly cooked, about 8 minutes. Drain well and add to the chicken and sausages.


In the same pot, sauté the onions over medium heat for about five minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.


Add the Marsala and de-glaze the bottom of the pot, stirring well until all of the good parts have mixed in with the onions. Let the Marsala reduce almost completely.


Pour in the tomatoes and add the chicken, sausages, and carrots. Make sure to include all of the juices from the meat. Add the thyme and pepper and stir gently.


Cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until some of the liquid has evaporated. Then place a tight fitting lid over the pot and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the beans.
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Give everything a good but gentle stir, then heat through. Alternatively, cover and refrigerate, then serve the next day.


I purchased this Mimi en Provence rosé a while back and this was the perfect opportunity to use it! (I don’t typically buy wine for the labels, but I couldn’t resist!)
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I like cassoulet with chopped fresh parsley, but this is not mandatory. Mine had just frozen the night before.
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Cassoulet reheats very easily – just make sure not to overcook the chicken breast pieces.

note: If you want to read a hysterical take on cassoulet, check this out!

49 thoughts on “Easy Cassoulet

  1. I adore cassoulet, but shy away from preparing it because of the process. I can imagine how wonderful it must have been to have had in the lovely cafe with Stephane. Your quick version looks perfectly delicious and much easier to prepare. Happy Holidays to you and yours Mimi.

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  2. This sounds delicious. I enjoy Cassoulet, but it does take time, and I think you have come up with a terrific recipe. How wonderful that you were able to go toa restaurant famed for its Cassoulet. That must have been wonderful. I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

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  3. It’s so great you got the chance to have authentic cassoulet in a French bistro selected by an expert and prepared by a family who have perfected it so much that they manage to serve it alone for lunch in their bistro! We love warm, homely meals and this is the type of cooking that the French do in family homes and its nice that you have featured it here. Yur version looks quite practical and the Mimi en Provence is the perfect colour to enhance your photo as well!

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    • Thank you for your lovely comment! I honestly wasn’t that impressed with the authentic cassoulet or the bouillabaise that we had later in the trip in a “certified” bouillabaise restaurant. But I enjoyed the experience. They’re both definitely peasant dishes but I don’t mind a little modernizing in my own kitchen. They both lacked flavor, although the bouillabaise was a bit too allspice-y for me! But when I travel, I try to eat everything the locals eat, and have always enjoyed those experiences nonetheless!

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