Cassoulet - Recipe

        January 9th was National Cassoulet Day.  I happened to make cassoulet by chance.  Really!  My son's friend and fiance were coming to dinner, and since I had not made this winter dish yet this season, I thought it would be great with a nice salad and French bread.  Then my son announced the news to me of this special day just for Cassoulet.  I thought, "How fun!"  Now, what are the odds of that happening?  It was even more fun to prepare it listening to French cooking music!
     This is my American style version of Cassoulet.  I use salt pork, smoked sausage, and chicken for the meats, and pinto or great northern for the beans.  In America, Cassoulet is a hearty dish with beans and slow cooked meats.  I particularly love the traditional flavor the salt pork brings to the dish.  I use chicken, because not only is it easy to find and prepare, it is delicious and feeds a crowd.  As for the beans, I use what I have in the cupboard.  I also simmer it on the stove in my enameled cast iron Dutch Oven.

(Serves 10)

8 oz. Salt Pork cut into small cubes
2 Yellow Onions chopped
1 Medium Head Garlic peeled and chopped
7 lbs. Chicken Pieces
Palm oil for frying
12 oz. Smoked Kielbasa fully cooked, cut into 1/4 slices
2 tsp. Dried Basil
4 tsp. Dried Thyme
3 Bay Leaves
2 tsp. Dried Rosemary
3 T. Tomato Paste
32 oz. Chicken Broth
50 oz. Pinto or Great Northern Beans
1 lb Button Mushrooms sliced thinly
Pepper to taste

     In a 9 1/2 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven fry the salt pork on medium heat to render some fat.  When it is golden brown, remove from pot and set aside.  Add onion and garlic to the pot and fry in the remaining pork fat until the onion is clear.  Remove from the pot and set aside along with the pork.  Brown the chicken pieces a few at a time, adding a little palm oil as needed.  When finished, add all the ingredients to the pot except the mushrooms.  Bring to a boil on medium heat, lower heat, and simmer covered for 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.  Add the mushrooms and continue simmering, covered, for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Adjust seasoning.  Serve with salad and French Bread.


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