March 22, 2016
This recipe was created by bariatric surgeon Dr. Joseph McPhee.
In 2011, while researching recipes for the second edition of my cookbook, I came across a unique dish by Chef Jon Ruzicka—chicken cassoulet—in the food column of a local newspaper. The dish gets its name from the pot it's traditionally baked in, the cassole, and is a classic French comfort food.
What appealed to me about this hearty-soupy stew was the great blend of proteins from chicken, pork and, yes, beans, that allowed for variation in preparation. After a number of reiterations, I developed this version of the traditional dish.
First, the classic chicken cassoulet uses duck confit (con-fee). Knowing my limitations, I wasn’t quite up to the challenge of making this most luxurious of French cuisine foods, which involves many hours of slowly cooking duck legs in their fat to fall-off-the-bone perfection then crisping the skin.
I went with lean chicken breast for this recipe, and further toned down the fat by not using butter and heavy cream. I also used butter beans instead of the of the traditional Tarbais (white) beans.
While many cassoulet recipes use a variety of different herbs, I liked the combination of thyme, rosemary and basil. Since meat (chicken, sausage, bacon) plays a main role in this dish I like to buy it at our local markets, knowing it is going to be fresh and delicious.
Some recipes add carrots and celery. I simply serve with a little brown rice and a side of steamed vegetables, such as broccoli.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion
- 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, diced
- 1 cup Italian sausage, skin removed, cubed
- 4 slices bacon, sliced
- 1 large chicken breast, cubed
- 1 15.5 ounce can butter beans (strained and rinsed)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup warm skim milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In large skillet, fry the bacon and sausage together until crispy. Drain off fat and set aside.
- Clean fat from the skillet then add olive oil. Sauté chicken on medium high heat until browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- In same skillet, add onions and garlic and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- Stir in the white wine, thyme, rosemary, basil, salt and black pepper and simmer 5 minutes.
- Return bacon, sausage and chicken to the skillet and add the beans, tomato paste, and milk.
- Stir mixture together and continue cooking over medium heat for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Per one cup serving: 301 calories; 15.4g total fat (5.8g saturated; 2.4g polyunsaturated, 9.9g monounsaturated); 1,004mg sodium; 53.7mg cholesterol; 16.4g carbohydrate; 3.7g fiber; 2.9g sugars; 20g protein; 310mg potassium.
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