French Cassoulet

8 oz. kielbasa, halved length-wise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (may use Italian sausage or bratwurst)
2 pieces bacon, uncooked, cut in 1 inch pieces
8 oz. beef cut into cubes (or may use ground beef)
8 oz. lamb meat (Optional)
8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
(if you omit the duck and lamb, add 2 additional cups of chicken, white or dark)
1 small duck, thawed, deboned, cut into cubes (Optional)
1/2 to 1 Tablespoons good olive oil
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 green or red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 (15-oz.) cans Cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian style tomatoes
bay leaf (optional)
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper


1. Heat the oil in a large skillet; add the sausage pieces and sauté 1-2 minutes, just to release a little of the fat. Add bacon and cook until limp (should not be crisp).

2. Add beef and brown. (If you use the ground beef, try to keep the pieces chunky.) Remove and set aside.

3. Add the chicken and sauté another 1-2 minutes until lightly colored. Remove.

4. Add lamb and sauté about 2 minutes. Remove.

5. Add duck pieces and sauté about 2 minutes. Remove.

6. Add the carrots, peppers, onions and garlic to the pan, pour in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom. Remove from the heat, stir in the beans, undrained tomatoes, add the set-aside meats.

7. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker or oven-proof heavy casserole dish or terra cotta. Spray with Pam. (If you want to put a lamb bone in, and it fits, add it now.)

8. In a separate bowl combine the rest of the chicken broth, white wine, parsley, thyme and red pepper. Pour over the bean & meat mixture.

9. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Or in the oven on 250 for 4-5 hours. If it forms a crusty edge, that’s more than fine!

10. Serve with some crusty bread and a simple green salad. Serves 8 or so! Freezes well.

This is not as complicated as you may think. Believe me, the aroma when they walk in the house will be a great start to your dinner. Get an Edith Piaf CD, some good cheese to start while you all get settled, and a nice light fruit tart/pastry for dessert and you’ll be the hit!

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