Cassoulet

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I hope y’all enjoyed your weekend. Mine was great even though I can’t really remember what we did. I do remember I kicked the Hubs and little one out to the indoor playground so I could clean the house on Saturday. Other than that it’s a complete blank. I didn’t even drink!! OH! I do remember one thing: I got to run outside for the very first time this year on Sunday. It was sunny but a little chilly and I decided to go out for a run around the pond while the little one was napping.

I’ve been running indoors on a treadmill for a while, and when I ran outside it kicked my butt! The terrain is so much more unforgiving than a flat, smooth treadmill. That said, where I live isn’t flat either. I’m in the foothills of the Rockies and my neighborhood is hilly as well. Running four miles was HARD, but it well worth it.

We were supposed to have the cassoulet Sunday night, but by the time I finished showering and came downstairs I didn’t feel like cooking it. So we had it last night instead.

I’ve had cassoulet before and I love it. It’s basically a slow-cooked French dish with beans and meat (we’re leaving the meat out in this version). The Kitchn says it’s “THE comfort food,” and I have to agree. It’s a comforting dish not just for those cold wintry nights. I like making comfort food anytime of the year, but especially when your soul is in need for that certain kind of wrapped-in-a-big-sweater, hands-around-a-warm-mug kind of comfort that only food can offer. Here are two links from The Kitchn: here and here, and one from Saveur on the history of cassoulet.

The last time I made cassoulet, one of the ingredients was thyme. Thyme doesn’t agree with me.* See note at bottom However, I’ve discovered that savory is an excellent thyme substitute. If you’re looking for savory, you’ll probably see it labeled as Summer Savory. It even smells and looks a bit like thyme. Mine had a few little flowers in it.

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The recipe I found on One Green Planet is pretty simple but packs a lot of deliciousness. First you start out by sautéing, what some call, the holy trinity in cooking: onions, carrots, and celery.

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Then you add in the mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and the rest of your ingredients. She says to use red wine. I don’t drink red wine and the Hubs is a beer drinker. The only time we have red wine in the house is when my Father-in-law visits. For me, it didn’t make sense to buy a bottle just to use only 2 tablespoons and have it sit and go rancid. So, I substituted 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth instead. I’ve read somewhere that you can also use balsamic vinegar.

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That just looks like a bunch of hearty, comforting goodness doesn’t it? You’re supposed to mix everything first and then add in the beans. I used navy beans. I didn’t scroll down that far enough and just added everything at once. But that’s ok. You let it simmer/cook for a bit and then put it into casserole dish. She says to pour it into 2-3 dishes. I didn’t see the point of that. Maybe I’m missed something? Oh well. Once you’ve done that, add in your breadcrumb mixture…a.k.a. the crumbly goodness: breadcrumbs (or gluten-free breadcrumbs), garlic, and olive oil. Who cares what it’s made of?! It’s just goodness…PERIOD! You let it bake for about 15 minutes, and voila! Your cassoulet is done!

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The little one didn’t care too much for the dish, but he ate it. The Hubs liked it and had some seconds. I, of course, liked it and it’s good for lunch the next day. Be warned though: DO NOT make this dish if you don’t want to be farty that evening or the next day (depending on how fast beans hit your system). I let out a few before I went to the gym and was a bit disgusted. :o) However, all the stinkiness that comes from your bottom is well worth it for the flavor of this dish.

*I’ve been trying to figure out why oregano, thyme, and certain other weird things don’t agree with me. I’ve been running across something called oral allergy syndrome more and more. From what I understand, this allergy manifests if you already have hay fever. It’s because certain plants are cross-pollenated.

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