I apologize for taking so long to get this typed up, but things have been a bit chaotic in our apartment-life lately. Nevertheless, here’s a very easy recipe to throw together if you’re looking for a comfort meal without a lot of excess fuss. It’s one that you can work on pulling together and then pop into the oven to “tighten up”, so it comes out looking amazing… and isn’t that the best kind of recipe to have in your arsenal?
It starts with half a package of canadian bacon, diced into small even pieces. Saute these in a bit of olive oil until they’re crispy and then add your vegetables (I used a mixture of diced onion, celery, and carrots) to saute until they’re translucent and smell wonderful.
I love using boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe so there are no bones or excess fat from the skin to worry about, but if you prefer to use the other, feel free… it’s your dinner you’re making, I seasoned each thigh with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence before putting the meat (seasoned side down) into the hot pan to sear. Once the first side was seared nicely, I flipped the thighs over and seared them on the other side. I wasn’t as patient as I should have been, so my “searing” didn’t look as golden as it could have, but I wasn’t too concerned this time.
Once the meat was seared on both sides, it was time to add liquid and beans. For the liquid, I used a cup of one of my favorite white wines (James River Cellars Reserve Chardonnay), but I’ve used a number of different white wines in this recipe from time to time. Use what you like to drink and the recipe will come out just the way you like it. I also added a cup of chicken broth and an extra chicken broth bouillon cube to deepen the flavor of the stock. I also added two cans (with liquid) of white cannellini beans, but have used other beans when that’s what I’ve found in my cupboard. If you have a preference, roll with that… it’s not a huge deal.
I brought the cassoulet up to a simmer and decided to stir in about a quarter cup of orzo pasta that I had in a baggie in the cupboard – I had no idea where I might use it otherwise, and this was a way to soak up some of the stock, if needed. This is totally unnecessary, but it used up something I already had, without wasting it, so I was happy.
I popped the cassoulet into a 325 degree oven for about an hour and stirred it occasionally. At some point, I took a potato masher and smashed some of the beans to thicken the stew, which gave it a lovely homey feel when dished out. I may have cooked the cassoulet for another hour, but as time went on, I reduced the heat so nothing was going to burn. The idea is to cook everything through until it’s falling apart and all the flavors combine. I love cooking this way!
As I got ready to serve our dinner, I sliced a single ciabatta roll, sprayed each slice with cooking spray and sprinkled on some garlic salt to make easy garlic toasts to go with our meal. 5-7 minutes in the oven was all that they needed to get crispy and toasty.
I hope you’ll consider trying this recipe sometime on your own. It’s so easy to swap out ingredients and make something entirely personalized… you’ll come up with a new “family favorite” in no time!