Cooking with Graham Kerr: Simple Cassoulet


Crusty and golden, Ligurian Focaccia is a fine accompaniment to a hearty helping of Simple Cassoulet.

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Serves 4

This hearty bean dish is redolent with the flavors of southern France. I prefer to use nonalcoholic chardonnay.

• 1 1/2 cups dried Great Northern beans
• Water for soaking
• Water or stock
• Bouquet garni (2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed, 4 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 2 cloves, tied together in cheesecloth)
• 1 teaspoon light olive oil with a dash of toasted sesame oil
• 1/4 pound smoked turkey sausage, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
• 1/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into
• 1-inch squares 1/2 inch thick
• 1/4 pound chicken thigh meat, cut the same size as the pork
• 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
• 1/2 cup chardonnay
• 8-ounce can no-salt tomato sauce
• 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, or
• 1/2 teaspoon dried
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or
• 1/2 teaspoon dried
• 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Cover the beans with water and soak overnight or bring to a boil and soak for 1 hour. Drain.

2. In a large saucepan, cover the beans with fresh water or stock, add the bouquet garni, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer 1 hour, or until tender. Drain, discarding the bouquet garni, and transfer the beans to a 2-quart glass casserole dish.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1/2 teaspoon of the oils. Brown all the meat and transfer it to the casserole. Pour in the other 1/2 teaspoon of oil and sauté the onions for 1 minute, then add the garlic. Continue sautéing until the onion is tender, stirring so that it doesn’t scorch. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the wine, tomato sauce, tarragon, thyme, and salt. Pour the sauce over the beans and meat in the casserole and gently stir together. Bake, covered, for 1 hour.

Per Serving: calories, 350; fat, 7 g; cholesterol, 53 mg; sodium, 578 mg; carbohydrates, 41 g; dietary fiber, 9 g; protein, 31 g.

Kathleen Halloran, editor of The Herb Companion, regularly cruises her kitchen and garden in Laporte, Colorado, looking for herbs.

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