Friday, November 21, 2014

Cozy In A Pot

In our house, we eat whole, real foods at least 85% of the time.  Sometimes, OK, maybe twice a year I include something a little less favorable in the form of kielbasa.  Unfortunately I have not found (because it probably doesn't exist) a healthy version of kielbasa.  It's high in sodium and contains nitrates (like most lunch meat) but like most things, I think once or twice a year is probably not going to be the end of us.  So, with that said, I'd like to share this delicious cassoulet recipe which is perfect on a cold winter's night.  (If anyone has a substitution for the kielbasa, please share! Unfortunately I think its hard to get that fabulous smoky meat flavor without the evils of nitrates and nitrites.)  This recipe is a mix of a couple of recipes that sounded good to me and here's where I ended up...
OK, so I started with a cup and a half of sliced carrots.
About a cup, or one whole chopped onion comes next.
And of course, a giant parsnip.  I didn't measure it because I was going to use the whole thing no matter what.  I have a surplus of giant parsnips at the moment so I'm going to have to start fishing around for some more ways to use them.    
 This was probably about two cups chopped (the carrots and onions are in the bowl as well!).
We must not forget the garlic!  Never forget the garlic.  I used two cloves but one is huge so I'd call it three, minced.
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan.  Add the chopped veg along with 1 teaspoon or dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain two cans of great northern beans.
Add half of the beans to a large bowl and smash (I used the bottom of a glass to get the job done).
Trim and cut a 1 pound pork tenderloin into 1 inch pieces.  Chop 1/2 pound of smoked sausage into 1/2 inch pieces.
Add the meat and the rest of the beans to the bowl and mix well.
Once the veggies have softened add two cans of diced tomatoes to the pan.
Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
Add half of the meat and bean mix to the slow cooker, top with half of the veg mix and repeat.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Don't forget to build a nice salad to eat with the cassoulet!
Serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and some fresh parsley.  Enjoy, and stay warm!

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 1/2- 2 cups sliced parsnips
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
2 cups great northern beans drained and rinsed
1 lb pork tenderloin cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 lb smoked sausage cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add chopped veg and seasonings, cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse two cans of great northern beans.  Add half of the beans to a large bowl and smash until creamy but with some chunks remaining.  Add the meats and rest of the beans to the bowl and mix well.

Add canned tomatoes to the pan and bring to a boil, remove from heat.  Place half of the bean and meat mixture to the slow cooker, top with half of the tomato veg mixture and repeat.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  Scoop into bowls and top with grated Parmesan and fresh parsley.

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