Pseudo-cassoulet; braised mixed greens – 25 June 2011

D and I cooked this one together, though for the main dish, we were mostly using his ideas.

It was time for a Christmas (a dinner worthy of his personally chosen ‘wine-of-the-month’ gift to me), and he wanted to pull something from the freezer. He mentioned that there were fresh cranberry beans at the Bowl, and I remembered that there were Toulouse sausages in the freezer, from back when our friends M&N taught us sausage-making last year. We had a plan 🙂

I bought about 4 pounds of beans in their pods, which gave us 1 lb 12 oz of beans. Here they are, almost all shelled:

We cooked them all, but kept out a small fraction for later use. We looked up our favorite cassoulet recipe, from the Victory Garden cookbook (which I think was a PBS companion book), and it is SO complicated (all cassoulets are complicated). It’s excellent, but we didn’t want to go through that. I remembered there was lamb stock in the freezer too, so we cooked the cranberry beans in that for 15 minutes, added the beans and stock to our souffle pan (the perfect size) alternating with browned slices from three of the little sausages and topped with bread crumbs (made from old bread using the smallest cuisinart) mixed with chopped parsley and salt. This we baked according to the Victory Garden recipe, 400 degrees for a half hour, and 350 for an additional half hour. The beans were perfectly cooked, and it was a tasty meal.

I thought that braised mixed greens would be a robust accompaniment, and they were great. I washed them and tore up pieces, abandoning any tough stems, then rinsed and spun them dry. I minced three small cloves of garlic, and started them cooking for only a part of a minute in olive oil before dropping on the greens. After they cooked down a bit, I splashed in a bit of water and covered them, letting them cook slowly for a few minutes. All of the greens in this 9″ fry pan served two of us (half are shown in the little square dishes in the dinner photos).

I made a new bread, with 1/6 whole wheat flour, and a good dose of Grape Nuts fines. I cooked it 40 minutes covered and between 15 and 20 minutes uncovered, and it was basically perfect. This one is probably destined to be the first post on my Pollanite blog.

The wine! The wine! That was the whole point, wasn’t it. It was really extraordinary – a Rioja from (we think) the Bowl. Delicious taste, rich, not too bold or too flowery, just fantastic. Yay!

Cranberry beans are very beautiful.

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