March 27, 2008

Excellent and simple dinner

Tonight I made a great dinner. I'm not bragging on myself, really, it's just the recipes are so simple and delicious that anyone could do it. I made a French dish called Cassoulet, and why I've only made it once before now I don't know- I guess I just forgot about it. Anyways, the first time I made it, I used turkey sausage links, chicken tenders and canned beans.

This is the more healthful dinner, just because it has more fat and bone in chicken.

1lb turkey sausage (I use the tube kind in the frozen section)
5-6 chicken thighs (dark meat is essential and thighs are cheap)
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 cup dry navy beans
2 chicken bouillon cubes (out of homemade stock, oh well)
1 T Herb d'Provence seasoning Or a mix of dried thyme, basil, bay, sage and rosemary
1 cup white cooking wine
12-24 hrs before cooking time, soak your beans in some water with a couple of tablespoons of whey, buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar. And hour before you start the main dish, drain the water off the beans, put in saucepan and add enough fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to simmer and let simmer till beans are tender.

Get a large pot out and heat on medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the pan and the sausage. After it browns, spoon out with slotted spoon. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot. Brown on each side, remove from pan. While meats are cooking chop the veggies into small/medium pieces. Add them to the pot with the herbs and let cook for 5-10 minutes. Next add the wine and let reduce 2-3 minutes. Add the meat, beans, bouillon cubes and 2-3 cups water, enough to just cover everything. Bring to a simmer and let cook till chicken is done. Cover your pot if the mixture is getting dry. I actually added too much water, so we ended up with a lot of juice. This was soooo yummy with the sourdough bread that had just come out of the oven.

Serve your meal with a salad and fresh bread.

Time for dessert!

I have been wanting to try this dessert called panna cotta for a long time. It basically means cooked cream and is quite possibly the most delicious thing I've ever eaten :)

You need

1 cup whole milk
1 T or packet of unflavored gelatin
1 T sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/3 c of honey

Put the milk in a medium size saucepan and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit for at least 5-10 minutes to dissolve. Turn on the heat to medium and stir often for about 5 minutes. Next add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. (10-15 minutes) Pour into wine glasses, custard cups or whatever you like. Put in fridge and let sit at least 2 hrs preferably 4-6.

But that's not all. There's a topping.

You need:

1-2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 T sugar
pinch of cracked pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour. This is a strange but heavenly combination.

Serve the cream with strawberries on top. This is actually a healthy dessert, and I think I will make it more often :)

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