HEALTHIER FRENCH CASSOULET W/ CHICKEN & TURKEY SAUSAGE
Ironically, a dish built on common ingredients and a bunch of animal scraps has become a high maintenance recipe in 21st century America. Traditionally it calls for duck confit, smoked bacon or pancetta, lamb shoulder, and sometimes smoke sausage, and takes days to prepare. The method is typical of braising, which raises some red flags for the health department over here at Jenessa's Dinners. Garrett and I went through a huge braising kick about two years ago. I was about 25 lbs heavier then. Mais, non! Oui, mes amis...oui.
I studied multiple recipes to see how I could play with the ingredients and still use a common method for a quick cassoulet. The challenge was to capture the smokey richness of these proteins while sticking to chicken or turkey. Voila. Canadian bacon, chicken drumsticks, and a smoked turkey kielbasa achieved the essence of cassoulet.
Ingredients (5 servings):
- 5 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
- 1 package of smoked turkey kielbasa, or a smoke sausage of your choice, thickly sliced
- 5 slices of Canadian bacon, thickly diced
- 3 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large can of whole, stewed tomatoes
- 4 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 1/2 onion, large dice
- 2 carrots, large dice
- 2 tomatoes, large dice
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 3 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp. thyme leaves (fresh is best if you can)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
Heat your oven to 425 degrees.
Prep all your meat by slicing it and trimming as much fat and skin as you can from the chicken. In a very hot large pot, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and brown your sausage and bacon. Meanwhile, season your chicken with salt, pepper, and thyme. Remove the sausage and bacon when it is crispy, and add the chicken, turning as it browns. Remove the chicken from the pot and set the meat aside.