65. Cassoulet

As I worked on #65 I kept writing this down as ‘cassolette’ instead of ‘cassoulet.’

One is #65, a traditional French bean and meat casserole. The other one has something to do with a lady’s nether regions.

Yeah. You read that correctly.

Now the only reason I’ve ever even heard the word cassolette is because I own a pocket version of The New Joy of Sex. My friend Dillon bought it for me as a joke years and years ago because the male model on the book’s cover strikingly resembled my High School Boyfriend.

Kinda ironic considering that I was most definitely not involved in any lovemaking with High School Boyfriend–he was a major holy roller, went on to attend the Jerry Fallwell school and is now a married youth pastor with a bunch of kids.

OMG, me and High School Boyfriend have so much in common!

But anyway, while I was making #65 I kept thinking: why does this dish have the same name as the natural scent of a woman? (yep, that’s what cassolette means). Sweet Christ on a cracker that has absolutely nothing to do with meat and beans! 

Yeah, I eventually realized that they’re two different words. Cassoulet is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, which is where we get the term casserole. The other word has an extra ‘t’ and is missing a ‘u.’ And is French for “perfume box.” Oh, those wacky French and their sexy terms.

Now that I figured that out, let’s get to the meal.

I don’t like to talk about dieting and shit (dieting is like religion–it’s great that it’s working for you but I don’t need to hear about it, OK?); but I do have to point this out–I took this recipe and did some Weight Watchers calculations and discovered that one serving of this puppy was a whopping 29 points. To put that in perspective, I am allotted 26 points PER DAY. So I did a lot of swapping with this one and am happy to say that I got it all the way down to 14 points per serving. Yay to me.

The biggest change I made was that I cut the amount of meat in half. As #65 is written, it contains over 3 lbs of meat. Holy meat sweats, Batman!

I began #65 at noon by soaking the white beans and at 2pm I added the onion and bouquet garni (since I don’t have cheesecloth in my house I used 2 little Japanese tea bag things that you put loose tea in for the garlic, parsley, cloves, and thyme). I omitted the salt pork entirely. The beans simmered.

2:50pm I chopped the onion and browned the meat–I used 1/2 lb trimmed boneless pork chops, 1/2 lb bone-in lamb shoulder chops, and 2 garlic chicken sausages.  I used cooking spray and not oil.

3:30pm the onion, garlic, bay leaf, parsley and tomato paste went into the pot with the beans. Yeah, I used tomato paste because that’s what I had. That’s close to puree, right?

4:25pm I removed the whole onion and bouquet garni from the pot and replaced it with the meat.

5:25pm I took out the meat, sliced it, and then assembled the casserole–layering beans then meat and meats then beans. I topped it with plain bread crumbs and 1.5 tbsp melted margarine.


5:45 the cassoulet went into a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. I mixed it about 3 times during the baking time.

6:45 the cassoulet is out of the oven and onto the table.

Dinner is Served!

Yes, this dinner was time consuming–I could have used canned beans, I suppose–but it was worth it because it was good! It was beany, meaty, carby, tomatoey goodness. It would never occur to me to throw in pork, lamb, and sausage all into one dish, but those French are all kinds of crazy–mixing their meats n’ at. In all seriousness it was the blend of meats that really elevated this from standard casserole to special dish. This was a real stick to your ribs, comfort-type food. I think that this would be great for a cold winter’s day. Or at least I imagine so considering that winter didn’t visit this year.

For dessert I made a delicious quasi-cheesecake from the Kraft website called Lite & Luscious Cheesecake.

14 squares HONEY MAID Low Fat Honey Grahams, finely crushed (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted
1 envelope. KNOX Unflavored Gelatine
1cup fat-free milk
2pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Fat Free Cream Cheese, softened
1tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
MIX crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and margarine in small bowl. Press on bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350°F for 5 minutes; cool.
SPRINKLE gelatine over milk in small saucepan; let stand 1 minute. Stir on low heat until gelatine is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly.
BLEND cream cheese and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Gradually blend in gelatine mixture on low speed until well blended. Pour into prepared crust. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until firm. Garnish with strawberry slices before serving, if desired.

This was really, really, really easy. The only baking involved was putting the pie crust in the oven for all of 10 minutes. Hell, you could just buy a pre-made and wouldn’t have to turn the oven on at all.

This turned out really well. Was it as dense and rich as a proper cheesecake? No. But the bit of lemon zest gave the mixture tartness and the gelatin did hold nicely, though my crust did not. Whatever. Strawberries on top and it got the job done. Voila! Strawberry Cheesecake.

Actually, once I got the strawberries and cool whip on it I realized that I was a tiny hop, skip and a jump from STRAWBERRY PRETZEL JELL-O SALAD! All that was missing was the strawberry Jell-O.

What? You’ve never ever heard of Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad? Oh, it’s rather delicious. And now that I think of it, it might have to make an appearance on this blog very soon.

Au revoir pour maintenant mes amis! J’espère que vous reviendrez de nouveau pour mon poste suivant qui ou sera des Rouleaux de Chou hongrois, ou Poivrera le Steak! Un dîner je ne peux pas me souvenir du tout et l’autre gélatine de caractéristiques. Ooh la la!

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18 Responses to 65. Cassoulet

  1. Cleve says:

    Can’t wait for some strawberry pretzel jello. Also, to anyone reading this, this recipe was seriously good, even without salt pork. Try it!

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  3. Godzilaw says:

    Interesting! I have an actual WW recipe for faux cassoulet (featuring reduced fat turkey kielbasa) which is actually pretty darn good (and very easy and not time consuming). The cheesecake looks delicious, too!

    • Yinzerella says:

      The cheesecake was good–for a ‘lite’ version and all. I’d like to see that faux cassoulet recipe.

      • Godzilaw says:

        WW-friendly faux cassoulet
        6 pts for 8 small servings (or 8 pts for 6 large servings)
        1 can each rinsed and drained black beans, white beans, and dark red kidney beans
        1 (14 oz) pkg. low-fat kielbasa, diagonally sliced into 1-inch pieces (I use reduced fat turkey kielbasa)
        1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
        1 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
        2 small onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
        1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
        2 tbl. firmly packed light brown sugar
        1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
        2 cloves minced garlic

        Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a 3- quart casserole. Cover and bake about 1 hour or until hot and bubbly and carrots are tender. (I usually end up baking it for 2 hours or more).

  4. I love cassoulet all of the time and cassoulette most

  5. I love cassoulet all of the time and cassoulette most of the time. Funny that the cooking vessel is called a cassole, which is one letter away from another aroma from the nether regions. Which you definitely don’t want to be a part of after all those beans…

  6. Those crazy French! Gotta love ’em. And, yes, you do seem to have so much in common with your high school boyfriend. Funny how that worked out. 😉

    Isn’t Cassoulet the best? I haven’t made any in a long time–too long!

  7. dillon says:

    I GOT A SHOUT OUT ON DINNER IS SERVED!!! I have arrived!

  8. iamsurly says:

    I have had Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O. It is awesome.

    I can’t believe I just said that.

  9. Cameron Close says:

    Yum, one of my favorite comfort foods. Since it takes so long I usually make a double recipe and freeze it right after everything is assembled and before the final baking. Works pretty well, though the great Northern Beans tend to get mushy after freezing and then baking. Thanks for doing this it is much appreciated! Wine suggestion though it is hard to find – Aligote from Burgundy, it is a “plebeian” white wine in the style of a chardonnay. It just works really well with Cassoulet!

    • Yinzerella says:

      Thanks for the wine recommendation! Perhaps you should suggest a wine pairing with each dinner.

      • Cameron Close says:

        I’ll give it a shot, but I may not be 100% reliable. Once we did a “French Country” wine and food dinner, (I was the wine guy.) for a bunch of mega-foodies. The organizer was incensed that we would have something as common place as Cassoulet and Aligote, but the Chef pulled rank. As it turned out it was the most popular course of all. It was a “great triumph” of comfort food over preconceived notions! That cassoulet, by Chef John P. Souza is my bench mark. Anyone who makes a cassoulet for you must like you – it is SO time consuming. Thanks again for all the effort!

  10. veg-o-matic says:

    Sorry, but anything beany grosses me out. It’s a texture thing.
    On the other hand, I really, really love that yellow dish on the DiS! card. Would you buy it for me, please? Thank you.

  11. fifi says:

    Yum, I have to try your version. And YEA!! to strawberry/pretzel jello!!

  12. I am laughing out loud on a rainy day in London about the “perfume box”. Love your blog so much. Will be checking on your progress on a regular basis. Your cassoulet looks divine. Jenny x

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