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Entries in cassoulet (2)


Regular Life Stuff

In the Dawg Daze Section:

Rico has owned our hearts for exactly eighteen days.  After Taffy's initial snubbing of him, they have bonded and sorted out the pack hierarchy.  I am Alpha female, which is as it should be.  The dogs know that.  Husband is still fighting the notion of it.  He's been fighting it since we met.  Taffy and Rico have had two dust ups.  The first when we were still in the RV.  Rico decided he would join Taffy in eating dinner out of her bowl as she ate.  She disabused him of that notion firmly and quickly.  He lived to remember his first lesson.  The second lesson was a bit harsh.  One evening last week, Taffy initiated play, butt up in the air, front end down and tail wagging woofs.  Rico had been begging her to play for days and she always ignored him.  Upon her initiation, they played for 30 minutes, running, chasing, barking, tails wagging, fun.  It was just wonderful.  The next day, Rico initiated play, butt in air, tail wagging, begging to play.  Taffy ignored him.  She walked away and he trotted behind her and sort of jumped on her back end. Oh, No, No, No, No No!  Again, Taffy let Rico know who was in charge of canine life around here.  As they say, "The wind blew and the fur flew."  I thought Taffy was killing Rico.  He was screaming like a girl.  I began screaming, husband grabbed Taffy and it was like a whirlwind.  Well, Rico didn't have a scratch on him.  I checked him carefully, fully expecting a trip to the emergency vet.  Nope.  Since then. over a week, it's been cool. 

It works like this.  Each dog has their own food and water bowl.  When dinner is served, Taffy goes to her bowl and eats.  Rico sits a respectful distance away and watches her.  She finishes her bowl and then walks over to Rico's bowl and takes one mouthful while he watches her.  She always takes just one mouthful, chews it and then walks out of the kitchen.  It's as if she takes that one mouthful just to show him that she can and will and he needs to accept that.  Once she has left the room, Rico goes over and eats his dinner.  Then he goes out and joins her.  That Taffy is one kick ass alpha female!  As long as she's in charge, it's all good.  She's a benevolent dictator and Rico gets it.  I wish he'd explain it to Husband...Look...This is what the three critters I live with do all afternoon...

In the Regular Life Department:

We're having guests over for dinner this evening;

Green Salad

Cassoulet with Cannellini Beans, duck breast, garlic sausages, pork and lamb

Dauphanoise Potatoes

Steamed Mixed Vegetable with Brown Butter Sauce

Golden Peach Cake with Whipped Cream





I Am; Therefore I Cook.../Cassoulet


I am determined that I can cook everything in the travel trailer that I cook at home. I said cook, not bake. I haven’t tackled baking yet. We’ve become friendly with a Canadian couple who are Full-timers. They live in a large motor home and follow the sun. Last week, friends of theirs who also have a motor home drove down from Toronto. We planned a dinner for the six of us. I said I’d do main course and salad if they’d do pre-dinner nibbles, bread and dessert. Cassoulet is a nice, easy dinner. Unfortunately, the dutch oven I usually make it in is too big for the trailer’s teeny oven. I turned to my new best friend, the crock pot. Actually, the only thing I did differently was to toss everything into the crock pot rather than the dutch oven and bake. This meal serves 6-8. The meal was a huge hit.  The Canadians loved it.
1 lb dried white beans (I use Cannellini)
1.5 lbs sausages (I used Johnsonville Bit O’ Garlic Irish Sausages as I cannot find French garlic sausages here)
1.5 lbs (all together NOT each) lamb and pork stew chunks
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 or 4 gloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-14oz can chicken broth
bouquet garni (I use 2 small pre-made ones)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt & pepper
Rinse beans.  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Drain.  Again cover with water, bring to a boil and boil for 30 minutes or so until just tender.  Remove beans with slotted spoon and set aside.  Save bean cooking liquid.
Prick sausages, cook in large frying pan until very well browned, remove and remove all but a little grease to cook stew meat in; reserve grease
cook stew meat in same pan until well browned, remove.

Add onion and garlic,  brown, stir in tomatoes, cook 2-3 minutes...Add
broth, bring to a boil,  skim off fat if necessary.

Spoon 1/3 of beans (use slotted spoon to remove bean cooking
water) into large casserole dish, top with 1/3 of meat and vegetable.
Continue  layering ending with bean layer.
Pour broth over top and tuck in bouquet garni.  Add enough bean juice to just cover if needed.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours.  Uncover, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, bake
20 minutes more or until browned. 
OR… all in crock pot, cover and cook on high 1 hour. Turn to low and cook 5-6 hours. Uncover, sprinkle top with breadcrumbs, cook on high 20 minutes longer.
**Cook's Note:
This is basic peasant food.  In France, it is often take-out food in small villages.  The charcuteries (butcher shops) will sell hot cassoulets in stoneware covered pots.  A small deposit is paid on the pot and refunded when it is cleaned and returned.  This is how and where I disovered cassoulet.  It doesn't matter which sausages are used nor which chunked meat, beef, lamb, veal.  Every recipe is just a framework for the cook's creativity, the fresh ingredients at hand or in season and the grocery budget.  This I believe, don't you?