Soup Series A: Crockpot Cassoulet Soup

I absolutely love cassoulet– a flavorful French stew made from duck confit, garlic sausage, pork and/or lamb, bacon and white beans.  It’s a one pot meal that cooks slowly in the oven; when done properly, a lovely crunchy crust develops over the surface.  My favorite recipe is the one from Anthony Bourdain when he headed up Les Halles in NYC; we would often go to the one on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown DC, just so I could get my cassoulet fix!

I realize a slow cooker soup and canned beans won’t come close to the texture and deep flavors of the multi-step cassoulet (never mind the fact there’s no duck confit), but the addition of smoked sausage seemed promising to me.  This soup is also a much healthier dish, relying on turkey sausage and chicken for the meat, but that’s okay, too.

I changed the recipe by increasing the garlic from 3 to 5 cloves, the onions from 1 to 1 1/2 cups (which I sliced thin), and omitting the red pepper and cayenne which I’ve seen in cassoulet.  You can find the recipe here.  Cassoulet also doesn’t have tomatoes or carrots, but since it’s a soup, I see why they’re needed for flavor.  Lastly, about about 30 minutes before serving, I removed some of the beans and mashed them, returning them back to the pot to thicken the soup.

Crockpot Cassoulet Soup (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

  • 1 c chopped carrot (I did a medium dice)
  • 1 1/2 c thinly sliced onions
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 oz skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 8 oz cooked smoked turkey sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TB chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5-oz can Italian-style tomatoes
  • 1 1/2  c reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 c white wine

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, chicken broth and white wine.

Chopped and ready to assemble!

Chopped and ready to assemble!

Layer the the following ingredients into the crock pot:  onion and carrots, then chicken and sausage,

Onions, carrots, chicken, sausage...

Onions, carrots, chicken, sausage…

followed by the beans and the seasonings.

I didn't bother to chop the parsley; I just tore it up and threw it in

I didn’t bother to chop the parsley; I just tore it up and threw it in

Pour the tomato liquid over the layered ingredients and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

The liquid will NOT cover the beans

The liquid will NOT cover the beans

During the last hour, remove about a cup of beans with some liquid and mash.  Return the mashed bean liquid to the pot and continue cooking.

Yeah, there will be some carrots and onions in there, but don't worry about them

Yeah, there will be some carrots and onions in there, but don’t worry about them

Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

A healthy, hearty soup!

A healthy, hearty soup!

Afterthoughts:

It is definitely NOT cassoulet-like in flavor, but the addition of the smoked sausage upgrades this soup from your run-of-the-mill Italian minestrone.  Kurt said the soup was good, but it wasn’t “satisfying.”  Next time I will fry some bacon and add that to the mix as well as reserve some to sprinkle on top to enhance the smoky flavor.  I will definitely chop the onions in a small dice instead of slicing them thinly; I didn’t care for the long strings in each spoonful!

It’s good, but I think it needs a little enhancement, so it’s a keeper!

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Filed under Family, Food, Main Dishes

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