Working Girl’s Cassoulet

At Natalie’s request. This is a entry I started like 2 years ago, but she’s been asking for it, so I decided to post it, unedited. Watch me wax poetic!

Oh, and check out her blog:

As with anything, the more you understand the further you can dig and the finer your technique becomes. Poached fish and bruniosed aromatics in a wine cream sauce? I never thought that would go together, but it does, and it’s so good. The French are credited with codifying the Western kitchen. The recipes we did this week were simple in both taste and presentation, but complex in mise-en-place and execution. It’s a good thing they were so organized…

One thing I really wanted to make this week was a cassoulet. There are a few French places in Chicago that make cassoulets which are gluten free. Gluten-free dishes at a French place are few and far between, so it’s always nice when that option exists. Unfortunately we didn’t make a cassoulet at school. I also didn’t happen to have duck confit or rabbit, or lamb just chilling home. I also didn’t have 12 hours to slow cook dinner. I did, however have a couple of other things as well as an hour to cook. I ended up with a stew inspired by a cassoulet. It was hopefully the last time it will be cold enough to eat stew appropriately. Geeze, eat stew appropriately? You know what I mean, weather matches mood which matches which food you want to eat. Soon enough it will be time to only eat cucumbers.

*Note- I’ve made this a few times since 2011. I really enjoy eating this and suggest topping it with an egg.


6 slices bacon, small dice (I cut my bacon with scissors sometimes, it’s easy)

2 tablespoons butter

3 sweet Italian sausages, sliced in 1/2″ segments

1 shallot, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 can peeled plum tomatoes

1 can (15oz) pinto beans

1 can garbanzo beans

2 cups red wine

4 springs thyme

2 bay leaves

1 bunch kale, shredded

1″ of a cinnamon stick

Nutmeg, Salt & Pepper to taste.


1. Render bacon in butter.  When cooking, add italian sausage. You just want to get some browning, the meats will finish cooking the rest of the time.

2.  Add shallots to mix.  When aromatic, add garlic, thyme and bay leaves.

3. Don’t burn the garlic, when you can smell it, add the tomatos and red wine.

4. Reduce until it tastes good. Like a half hour-45min?  Season with salt and pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon.

5. Drain and rinse the beans, add them to the stew. Cook them until they are heated through.

6. At  the last minute add your kale and double check that it tastes pretty good.


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quick update

This happened…. Enjoying newlywed life and planning our honeymoon. Now that we had the best party of our lives, we can focus on other things, like blogging!