Take-Out Tuesday makes a glorious return this week with a traditional southern French dish with twist–cassoulet!
I know what you might be thinking…French cuisine…take-out Tuesday…they cannot possibly go together. Before you start quaking in your oven mitts and getting your aprons in a bunch, hear me out.
I am taking cassoulet, a traditional French casserole/soup made with white beans and some form of delicious meat (pork sausage or duck confit), and making it vegetarian. I myself am not vegetarian. The are two simple reasons, however, for making this dish vegetarian.
1) My “roommates” who share my concrete chambered hallway are two sixty year old plus Frenchmen. Chaque soir, they eat sausage cassoulet out of a can (French equivalent of beans and hotdog/dogfood). How do I know this? It literally smells like patriotic, albeit stale, red, white, and blue French farts. These old French farts (double entendre!) are proudly suffocating/scaring me into hiding in my chamber and never wanting to eat real cassoulet again–it’s unclear what is in these cans, but it’s deadly.
2) When I cook anything in my chamber, my clothes inevitably smell like said dish/ingredients for at least a few days. Last time I checked, the French ladies are attracted to the smell of butter, not pork sausage fried in duck fat. Basically, I am trying to keep it vegetarian only to NOT smell disgusting. Vegetables sautéed in butter works better than any cologne does.
So here it goes. I substituted the traditional white beans for chickpeas, added macaroni pasta in the last few minutes of cooking, created a leek and carrot mirepoix, and added a few herbs. It’s a Take-Out Tuesday recipe because you throw in any vegetables you have on hand, add a can or two of chickpeas, pasta, and let it sit for 45 minutes–boom, meal is done. A true French Take-Out Tuesday…it’s easier than it looks!
- 3 leeks (white and pale green parts only) roughly chopped
- 4 medium carrots roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- A few shakes of dried herbs (rosemary, herbs de provence, thyme, parsley, cloves)
- One large can chickpeas
- 1 cup uncooked macaroni pasta
- 4 cups of water/vegetable stock
Preparation: Cook leeks, carrots, and garlic with oil in a large, heavy stockpot over medium heat until the mirepoix is golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and stock. Simmer cassoulet with partial cover on low heat until the carrots are tended, about 30 minutes longer. Add macaroni during the last few minutes of cooking time (check pasta box for specific cooking times before you add). Dig into this classic French peasant/country bumpkin fare with full flavor to boot!