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Not a real cassoulet (I'll eat it anyway)



A wonderful French dish is a slow cooked meal of beans, duck confit, lamb and garlic sausage. It is carefully tended and baked with a delicious breadcrumb crust. I am sure many arguments have been had as to what is an authentic cassoulet and where it originated. I had dried cannellini beans, chicken legs, and bratwurst and decided this would make a nice, if somewhat distant, approximation of cassoulet.


Although I have slow cooker I have not been using it because it has seemed just as easy to put things in dutch oven and place it in the oven. When I began to contemplate the weight of 6 legs, 2 thighs, a package of bratwurst, a pound of beans, a can of tomatoes, and water to cover, plus the weight of the pot, I opted for the slow cooker that I could leave out on the counter. Getting it all in the oven might have been possible, getting it out would have led to serious back pain.


I browned all the chicken and the bratwurst, as well as a chopped onion, in my new scan pan sauté pan. I don't need to add oil, the chicken browns and doesn't stick. I put these in the slow cooker with a pound of cannellini beans I had soaked over night and a 28oz can of whole plum tomatoes. If I had a smaller can I would have used it instead. For seasoning I had on hand some bay leaf and dried thyme as well as salt and pepper. I added water (you could use broth or a combination of broth and water) until it was covered and put the slow cooker on low for about 8 hours. If it gets too dry you can add some water as it cooks. I added too much water and removed some of the liquid at the end of cooking and reduced it in a separate pan. The sauce made a nice addition to meat loaf and I have some in the freezer for a future use.

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