Monday, November 14, 2011


Saturday was an inspirational day for me. I sat in front of the TV and watched Cooking Channel and Food Network all day long. Even though I work at a culinary school and my cube mates poo-poo the shows on these networks, I still LOVE them. Even when I have no intention of cooking a recipe shown, I still enjoy the personalities and choice of set that each Chef has.

One of my favorites Cooking Channel personalities is Kelsey Nixon. She comes off as your average home cook, but has so many great tips and techniques to share. In one of her episodes of Kelsey's Essentials yesterday, she made three different meals using one-pot cooking methods. I instantly fell in love with two out of the three. The first was this post: Cassoulet. The second will follow in a few days (chicken cacciatore, for those who can't wait.)  

Judging by the amount of ingredients, this dish may appear a bit complicated but it honestly isn't. Once all of your veggies are prepped and all of the food is in the pot, you have 40 minutes to sit back with a glass of wine and relax before digging in! This is definitely a great winter dish and could really wow your guests at a dinner party.  (Plus, who wouldn't love a big bowl of bacon-y veggie goodness?!?)

3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb hot Italian sausage
1/2 lb slab bacon, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried thymes
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 cups chicken broth
3 15.5 oz cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tbsp butter, melted
salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2) In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and bacon to brown all sides, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat.
3) Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until just fragrant, scrapping up any browned bits. Add zucchini, diced tomatoes, thyme, rosemary chicken broth and cannellini beans. Bring mixture to a simmer.
4) Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven for 30 minutes. 
5) In a bowl, mix melted butter and breadcrumb. Remove the cassoulet and sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Place back in oven for another 10 minutes or until the top of the cassoulet is golden brown.

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