Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cassoulet-Style Chicken

I made this prior to the baby being born to stock in our freezer, but am only getting around to posting it just now. This recipe comes from Reader's Digest. My husband, being French, loves cassoulet. I don't think that I've ever had a true 'French' cassoulet. But I figured I would try this to see what he thought... and he told me that it was nothing like a French cassoulet... so don't make it hoping to replicate a real one. But we enjoyed it nonetheless.

For the smoked bacon, we used President's Choice's Italian pancetta, which is as close as we can find in Canada to 'lardons', which are typically used in a cassoulet in France. I also used 6 boneless chicken breasts instead of the 12 thighs, as I didn't have any thighs. It worked well, but the chicken needed to cook for an hour before putting on the bread crumbs instead of for 30 minutes.

If I were to make it again, I might just leave off the bread crumb toppings altogether and put in a full can of chopped tomatoes.

2 tbsp. olive oil
60 g smoked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
12 skinless chicken thighs (bone-in)
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (250 mL) chopped canned tomatoes
4 C cooked white kidney beans (2 540 mL tins, drained and rinsed)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 C dry white wine or chicken stock
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 1/2 C bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or chopped fresh rosemary)

1. Heat oil in a deep wide skillet. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove and reserve. Discard all but a few tablespoons of oil from the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and brown well - about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan.

2. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook 5 to 8 minutes, until browned. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add beans and heat thoroughly. Add salt, pepper, wine or stock and thyme. Add chicken pieces back to pan. Sprinkle with bacon. Cover and bake 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Farenheit.

3. Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs with garlic, olive oil, salt and herbs. Sprinkle over the cassoulet. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes longer until bread crumbs are crisp.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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