Tuesday, November 29, 2011

vegetarian cassoulet fit for a queen

In Disney World we ate at Cinderella's Castle one night, and I had this amazing vegetarian cassoulet. Absolutely mouth-wateringly stupendously fantastic! So this weekend I decided to try to make it at home myself! After searching around a bit, I found this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and used it as the basis for my own version. I'm a really lazy cook, so you might want to switch out all my canned/dried stuff for fresh instead but I can never tell the difference myself. I also hate the texture of onions but love the taste, so I use onion powder in the recipe. You'll probably want to switch that out for real onions if you don't have a similar pet peeve ;)

You'll need: 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1" pieces, 3 stalks of celery, cut into 1" pieces, 4 cloves (or more if you're like me and really love it!) of garlic, 4 cups of broth, a 15oz can of diced tomatoes, two 15oz cans of small white beans (or cannellini beans), 3 tbsp of tomato paste, dried parsley, dried basil, powdered onion and 1/3 c. olive oil.

Directions: In a large pan, add the oil, zucchini, celery and garlic and then sprinkle with some basil, onion powder & parsley to taste (I personally like a lot!). Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the celery and zucchini are soft. Then add the broth, beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a little boil (I have no idea what the right term for that is?!) and let it cook for about 40 minutes, stirring often. I wanted mine to get a really thick consistency to mimic the meal I had at the castle, so I let mine cook about 10 minutes longer than the Smitten Kitchen recipe said, and I also left mine uncovered so more of the liquid would boil off faster.

While the bean & tomato mush is cooking, cut up a loaf of day old French bread into little cubes. Toss with olive oil, garlic and parsley and then cook in the oven at 350' for about 15 minutes. If the croutons finish before the rest of the meal, try VERY hard not to eat them all before everything else is done cooking. It's hard, but try. They're pretty darn good. Once the veggies and beans and such have cooked down so that there isn't much liquid left in the pot, scoop some out into a bowl and top it with a heaping helping of your fresh-baked croutons! It's so delicious, I swear!!

Now, I obviously have no idea what I'm doing when I cook (are you even supposed to let something boil without a lid on the pot? I have no clue) but it worked for me, and I ended up with a really scrumptious dinner that tasted a heck of a lot like the meal I ate at Disney World! :)