Sunday, March 23, 2014

Something's Cooking

When I get around to really cooking, it's monumental. I'm a bit of an all or nothing kind of gal. Sure, I feed my family on a usual day, but it's nothing extraordinary: quesadillas, spaghetti with meat sauce, tacos, French dip, and so on. Then, there are days when I get down to cooking like I mean it. Today was such a day.

Inspired by one of my favorite local restaurants, Flying Star, I decided to try to reinterpret their cassoulet. Their menu describes it as "Grilled spicy pork sausage, white beans simmered with red bell peppers, Crimini mushrooms, kale, leeks, garlic, pickled fennel." 

I am a luck gal to have a Trader Joe's within walking distance, so I am able to find such items as fennel, kale, and leeks. I've even become more cultured as of late. As a teenager working at the Texas Roadhouse in Cheyenne, WY, I had never considered that kale could serve as more than a garnish to make the steak next to it look purdy. (That's how you say "pretty" in a mid-western steakhouse. Just kidding. I didn't ride a horse until my honeymoon, and I don't even own a cowboy hat, so don't take me at my word on this.) I am of the opinion that all green things are tastier roasted, so I did to my kale as it says on the Whole Foods website

My fennel didn't come pickled, but with a little help from the French Revolution blog, I rectified that. 

As to the white beans, I went for a can of great northern beans. They weren't the only white beans at the store, but the good folks at Flying Star didn't specify for my convenience. I picked up some jalapeño sausage at Sprouts, because that sounded spicy to me. I'm afraid I didn't find anything labeled "Crimini" at the store, so I figured the baby bellas were close enough. Upon later internet researching, I discovered they are the same thing. Horray for chance success! I cooked up the sausage, beans, and red bell peppers in a little beef broth, sautéed the mushrooms and leeks with a little butter, and then combined everything else. It turned out mighty fine.

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