Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stovetop Cassoulet

This meal was a learning experience for me. I learned several things:

1) If you don't know what you are making or how it's supposed to turn out, maybe you should figure that out before you start making it (or else just don't make it).

2) I don't like cookbooks that tell you to put in 1 T minced garlic. I mince my own garlic, there is no way I am going to measure it after mincing. The 1 T reeks of using canned garlic instead of just pressing your own (which takes no time at all).

3) If a recipe ever calls for 3 c of bread crumbs, ask questions. Either should I be making my own bread crumbs or do I really want 3 cups of bread crumbs?

As you have probably figured out, this meal wasn't one of my best recipe experiments. The 3 c of bread crumbs almost made the meal inedible. After supper, I ended up scraping off as much of the bread crumbs as possible before saving it as leftovers. As leftovers (minus all the extra bread crumbs plus a little thickened tomato juice on top) it was pretty tasty. I debated this recipe up, but with a few modifications, I don't think it would be a bad way to use kale. Here goes.

In a soup pot or dutch oven, saute 1 c onions in 1 T olive oil and 1 T butter and cook about 10 minutes. Stir in 3 c diced potatoes (about 1 pound). Add a little water (to prevent scorching), a little salt, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in 1 T fresh oregano, 1 T thyme, 1 c dry wine, 2 - 3 c chopped carrots (chopped into large chunks), and 1 clove minced garlic. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes over low heat. Add 1 chicken bouillon cube and 3 cans of white beans (I only had 1 can and that was sufficient if you want to use less) and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook until the potatoes and carrots are completely tender (the length will depend on how big of chunks the potatoes and carrots are--any where from 10 minutes to 25 minutes). Stir in kale or other greens, cover and remove from heat. Let set for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 1 T butter in a skillet. Add the 1 c bread crumbs and saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the crumbs are toasty. Either sprinkle the bread crumbs over top and serve or serve the cassoulet and sprinkle each individual serving with bread crumbs (that is probably the better option---go easy on the bread crumbs because this is the make or break part of the recipe).

None of us really liked it last night. M wouldn't touch because of the bread crumbs. J picked out the potatoes and carrots. Curtis and I ate it. However, once I pulled off as many bread crumbs as possible we liked it much better. We'll see if I make this again. The cookbook, Vegetable Heaven by Mollie Katzen is definitely going back to the library....there is just something a little off about a cookbook that suggests you use jarred garlic and cook your own dried beans in the same recipe.

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