Cassoulet, s’il vous plaît: Thanksgiving leftover Cassoulet

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It’s two days past Thanksgiving here in the States, and in my house, we’re still eating leftovers. Unfortunately, we’ve run out of the delicious sides and are left with a plethora of turkey. What to do….what to do? So today, in a last nod to France, I’m giving you some help on how to use those leftover turkey bits if you’re looking for a different flavor combination than parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

As you can probably tell from what I’ve made thus far, a lot of the recipes that come out of France are cooked low and slow, giving the flavors lots of time to develop. Today’s is no different.  Cassoulet, when made properly, takes hours, even days to make.  The cook usually preps all the ingredients separately, soaking the dry beans overnight and slow braising whatever meat is chosen.  For my purposes, I found a simplified recipe developed by renowned chef of The French Laundry, Thomas Keller.  I figure that while some of old world technique is lost, if Thomas Keller thinks this slow cooker method adequately does the job, who am I to argue?

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Served with a bit of shaved cheese

For those of you not in the know (as I was not previously), cassoulet is pretty much just a combination of beans baked with meat.  As with most dishes, each region has it’s own version and the traditional southern France twist has pork and sausages, but can really be made with any meat available. To utilize leftover turkey, I’m throwing that in rather than using a whole pork loin or other meat.  While this may cut down on some of the flavor gained from slow cooking the beans and meat together, I think it’ll be just fine.  Also, Mr. Keller is okay with using canned beans, and therefore, so am I.  The whole things takes about 5 hours, and tonight, is done just in time for kickoff.  The resultant meal is actually a lot like a chili in consistency and heartiness and will give me the requisite energy to cheer my team to what will hopefully be a decisive victory (My alma mater, Notre Dame is playing the University of Spoiled Children in the last game of the season. A win will take us to the National Championship. I’m a bit on edge…).  Perfect for fall, perfect for winter, perfect for a tailgate, perfect for tonight.  GO IRISH.

This makes a lot. Like, a whole crock pot full.

 

This is smoked rib bacon that Mama Buddha picked up for me. Isn’t it pretty?

Cassoulet
Serves 8
Hearty and meaty French bean stew
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Ingredients
  1. approximately 2 cups of chopped, leftover cooked turkey
  2. 2 TB olive oil
  3. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  4. 4 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  5. 2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
  6. 1 cup dry white wine, like Savignon Blanc
  7. 2 TB tomato paste
  8. 17 ounce can of peeled Italian plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  9. 1 cup turkey stock (or chicken stock)
  10. 6 cups cooked Great Northern Beans (about 4 cans), rinsed and drained
  11. 3 smoked chorizo or garlic sausage links (mine were not cooked)
  12. 1/2 head garlic
  13. 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  14. salt and pepper
  15. Crusty bread, for serving
Instructions
  1. In a somewhat deep pan, combine the oil and panko crumbs. Cook, stirring constantly, until the panko is toasted and golden, about 4-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until crisp on both sides, about 5 miuntes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
  3. Cut the sausages on a wide bias and cook in the pan until almost cooked, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a platter.
  4. Add the onions and about 1/2 tsp salt to the pan, stirring occasionally until golden brown and soft, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, the tomatoes and broth. Remove from heat, add the beans, bacon, sausage and garlic.
  5. Add the entire mixture to the slow cooker base. Cook on low about 5-6 hours. (Since the only thing that really needs to be cooked through fully is the sausage, it probably doesn't even need this long, but again, the longer you cook, the more developed the flavor will be).
Notes
  1. Mama Buddha suggests not mixing in the panko individually rather than in the mixture as a whole. I think that it serves to absorb some of the liquid and mom likes her chili a bit soupy, so just an alternative to consider.
Adapted from Thomas Keller
Adapted from Thomas Keller
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

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Note: This post has been updated from its original with the addition of exponentially better photos.  The content remains the same. 

 

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2 Comments

  1. In your note about the panko, do you mean to just add it in rather than mixing it with oil? I have all the ingredients, and am planning to make it today. Yum.

    • Hi Bea! Thanks for stopping by! Sorry for the confusion- definitely cook the panko in the oil regardless. However, at the end when serving, you can opt to mix it into the whole pot at the end, or sprinkle it individually on the bowls. Does that help? Let me know if you need more tips- enjoy, this is one of my favorite dishes of all time!

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