Thursday, January 5, 2017



It's winter!  Even in Ojai. The holiday season is over.  Blizzards abound.  Well, not in Ojai.  We're just happy if it rains, but the temps dip low and logs have been burning in our fireplace.  It's cassoulet weather.  Recently Richard made a great one.  A few years ago he made a Christmas Cassoulet for one of our holiday parties and worked on it for days, because, well, that's what you do with a cassoulet.  But this recipe is for a quickie.  Cassoulet in a flash.  Takes about a half hour.  And I'm here to report that it's good enough to share with y'all.  Good enough for company.
So here goes.

3 ounces of duck sausage, casings removed.  Richard couldn't find duck sausage in our little hamlet so he substituted pork sausage.

2 ounces center-cut bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3 ounces) boneless duck breast half (optional - Richard chose not to include the duck breast, although on another occasion he substituted a chicken breast.  He figured that afficionados would forgive him).

Cooking spray

2 (15.5 ounce) cans, no-salt added, white beans rinsed, drained and divided
2 tablespoons no-salt added tomato paste
1-1/4 cups no-salt added chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons walnut oil


1.  Preheat the broiler to high
2.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add sausage and bacon to pan; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally to crumble sausage.  Remove mixture from pan using a slotted spoon; place in a bowl.  Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; reserve remaining drippings for another use.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through minced garlic) to drippings in pan; saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add onion mixture to sausage mixture.

3.  Remove skin from duck (or chicken) breast and discard.  Cut breast into 1/2 inch pieces.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Lightly coat pan with cooking spray.  Add duck breast; saute for 3 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Remove from heat.

4.  Combine 1/2 cup beans, tomato paste, and stock in a food processor; process until smooth.  Add pureed bean mixture, sausage mixture, remaining beans, and pepper to pan w/ duck; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook 2 minutes.  Spoon 1 cup of bean mixture into each of 4 (8 ounce) ramekins lightly coated with cooking spray.  Combine panko, parsley, and oil in a small bowl; toss.  Divide panko mixture evenly among ramekins.  Place ramekins on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until browned.  Richard says watch carefully.  The panko browns rather quickly and usually under two minutes.


Serves 4 (serving size: 1 ramekin)
Calories - 383 (w/ duck breast)

Bon appetit!!!