October 27, 2013

Roasted Pork with White Beans Cassoulet

Now this is Casual Dinning!

What could be better than having friends over for a well-developed flavorful, no-effort-at-meal-time bowl of goodness and actually having time to relax as they arrive as well as during the meal?  Having it catered perhaps... but then, there is no satisfaction in serving another someones food, not when there are easy one-pot-meals like this one.

Cassoulets are meant to be easy for a purpose. This French way of cookery is somewhat peasant in style, a little homely in nature and a whole lot of intimate causality in its feel. While my first choice is to cook with Cannelini beans, I had none in my pantry so Navy beans worked equally as well. The flavors of succulent roasted pork soaks into the starches of the beans as the meal comes together and the southern flavors, with the union of Cajun and Tex, brings about a palatable savor of a monumental homecoming. Enjoy!

Roasted Pork with White Beans Cassoulet
4 main servings or 8 sides

2 lb pork roast or pork boneless loin, roasted and chopped
4 ounces Cajun link sausage, diced (I use Conecuh brand)
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 garlic toes (cloves), minced
3/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 bay leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaves)
1 lb navy or northern beans, soaked, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups sodium-reduced chicken broth
1/2 cup sodium-reduced beef broth
1 medium potato, peeled and finely diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Keep roasted pork meat warm or have at room temperature.

Heat the cassoulet or large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and saute until light brown. Add celery, bell pepper and onion. Saute until onion is soft. Stir in the garlic and the seasonings. Add the beans, chicken and beef stock, diced potato and carefully stir in the roasted pork.

Cover cassoulet with lid, place in the oven and reduce temperature to 325 degrees F. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Check after an hour and make sure beans are not drying out. If so, add more chicken broth, just enough to moistened.

Notes: Towards the end, taste the beans to make sure they are done. Soft yet not breaking apart is perfect and also be sure to taste regarding additional seasoning. I personally think the seasoning salt had enough salt but others found it needed more.
The potato is added as a binder, to form a thickener without relying on the beans to break down.

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