Thursday, January 30, 2014

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet in the Slow Cooker

Today is January 30, 2104, two days after the start of a major ice/snow storm that crippled the South.  Thankfully, my area did not get hit near as hard as Birmingham to the north of us or Atlanta.  I'm very grateful for that - made it through with out any issue.  Yes there was ice and snow and the area was completely shut down for about 48 hours, but we did not have to abandon our cars on the interstate or walk 6 miles when it was 9 degrees outside, spend the night in our car, or spend the night at work.  My heart goes out to those that lost loved ones during this storm, we had two deaths on a highway maybe 15 minutes from here due to sudden icy road conditions.   Overall we got maybe 1/2 inch, deeper in some spots, a sheet of ice on anything and everything. 





An upside to being stuck at home is having plenty of time to cook!  Generally when I make a meal in the crock pot, I choose the kind with minimal amount of prep. The whole point is to make it easy.  If there is lots of prep or pre-cooking or browning, I do that days before and even freeze it all so I can dump it in the crock pot and go the day of the meal. Tuesday was the perfect day to pick a warm comforting recipe no matter the amount of prep time!  I love Cooking Light; probably my favorite magazine and source for recipes.  I recently saw on their list of 105 Slow-Cooker Favorites list this recipe for Smoked Sausage Cassoulet.  It has bacon (yum), veggies sauteed in bacon fat (yum x 2), pork, beans, tomatoes, seasoning, and cheese on top.  Sounded perfect!  

Ingredients

  • 2 bacon slices
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pound lean boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound reduced-fat smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubed
  • 8 teaspoons finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 8 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


For the bacon I used some of our Benton's bacon. If you have never had Benton's bacon, boy, you need to try it. It's super smokey and seems to have more bacon-y goodness than any other bacon we've had.  Check it out here - Benton's Smokey Mountain Country Hams.  For the smoked sausage, I used some aidells chicken sausage we had on hand. 








When I started the prep for this recipe around 10:30am, there was already a sheet of ice on our back deck. By the time I finished, the deck was almost completely covered in sleet pellets (below).  By the afternoon, the sleet turned to snow.  Needless to say we didn't do any walking on the deck! Our Italian Greyhound tried to traverse it a couple of times, made it across, but tried to generally avoid it.  


Below: our back yard on Tuesday, late afternoon, just before dark. Snow kept falling but only a little bit more accumulated. 



By 6pm we were enjoying our Smoked Sausage Cassoulet!  I had a couple boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix, so went to their website and used their Creamy Corn Muffins recipe.  Basically you add a can of creamed corn and some shredded cheddar to the mix.  I usually try and make things like this from scratch vs boxed mixes, but hey, every now and then it's ok, right?  Oh, and try to imagine there is chopped parsley on top of the stew.  Didn't have any, and certainly wasn't going out in a ice storm to get it. 


By Wednesday morning, a little more snow had fallen. Here's the deepest part from our yard and deck. 





By Wednesday evening we were enjoying clear skies and this beautiful sunset.  And that concludes our adventure that was the Winter Storm of 2014, or The Snowpocalypse, or Frigdemageddon, or whatever name goes down in the history books!

Recipe from Cooking light:
Smoked Sausage Cassoulet

  • Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup cassoulet, 1 teaspoon cheese, and 1 teaspoon parsley)

Ingredients

  • 2 bacon slices
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pound lean boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound reduced-fat smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 teaspoons finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 8 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion, thyme, rosemary, and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in crumbled bacon, salt, pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
2. Place half of beans in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher until chunky. Add remaining half of beans, pork, and sausage; stir well. Place half of bean mixture in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; top with half of tomato mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.











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