I know I’m a few days late but OMG IT SNOWED!
My apologies to those on the East Coast that loathe the snow but I was jonesing for a good snow this winter. While there was a lot of hype over the Nor’Easter (unofficially named by TWC as Nemo), Brooklyn didn’t get clobbered like the weatherman predicted. Now, my friends in Long Island and Connecticut- they got SNOW. Even some reportedly got around 30 inches! BR and I were prepared to be snowed in for days and endured hours at the supermarket equipped with any kind of food one could want if they were trapped at home. After all, Hurricane Sandy taught me that one can never been too prepared.
Alas, even after being sent home early the moment the snow started to fall, and watching with glee as the snow piled high, I awoke the following morning to see a bright sun and the beginnings of melty slushy snow. Awe.
One of my favorite things about the snow is Mickey. My Mickey Girl loves her some snow! The first time it snowed after I rescued her, I developed a whole new love for fresh fallen snow.
She reminds me of a little kid. She bounces in it, eats it and just overall, goes bananas!
I was asked by a few friends for pics of her in action, so I obliged. The morning after the Nor’Easter, I took her to play in the local park before the plows got to it. Before I set out, I started our dinner for the day in the slow cooker. With the fresh fallen snow and the cool crisp air, I opted for some good old comfort food.
Cassoulet. Typically, cassoulet is extremely unhealthy. A stew of duck confit, beans and bacon drippings- nummers. It seemed impossible to lighten up while keeping it tasting familiar.
My old reliable, Myrecipes.com, archives some amazing recipes (some more amazing than others) from sources like Cooking Light, Southern Living, etc. I found the lightened up cassoulet version here and really really liked the results.
There is some work involved- while I especially love on pot dishes, the crispy bacon is necessary. But there is a small amount of bacon- so that makes it okay.
Ingredients: (serves 8 1 cup servings)
2 bacon slices
1 large onion, chopped
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
2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound lean boneless pork loin roast 4 4oz boneless pork chops, 1 inch thick, 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
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.
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 4 -quart electric slow cooker; top with half of tomato mixture. (the recipe called for a smaller slow cooker, but mine just fit and it was a 4 qt. You want to make sure that you use a size that will fit the stew perfectly. If you use too big of a slow cooker, the stew will cook faster)
Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours.
Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread.
BR likes a ton of parm cheese and our preferred crusty bread is a lightly toasted baguette.
This was perfect to sit at home with as the snow melted. warm. comforting. and tasty.
The best way to make this if you are pressed for time in the AM is prepping the ingredients the night before and putting it all in the slow cooker and letting it hang out in the fridge. In the AM before you leave, set the slow cooker and let it do its thing for 8 hrs.
Or, set it up, take the dog for a walk and then relax all day whole inhaling a smoky, porky, hearty stew.