Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Sausage Cassoulet

Recently I discovered the wonderful cuts from Mountain Song Farm, and in an effort to help keep a local and ethical farmer in business, I wanted to share his product with you. Farmer Brad raises Berkshire pigs in their traditional woodland environment, giving them full opportunity to live as hogs should, not confined, fed chemicals, and grown on GMO grains. This heritage pork is juicy, so tender and flavorful - worlds tastier (and healthier) than supermarket pork. Your support aids in the longevity of a small family farm! Please show your love for Mountain Song Farm by purchasing a farm share today. Cuts include rib racks, thick-cut bone-in chops, hickory smoked bacon, smoked jowl, bratwurst, chorizo, and andouille sausages, and more. Call or email farmer Brad and let him know which option you would like, or visit him at Pepper Place Market.

I made a wonderful dish adapted from a (always playful) riff from Jamie Oliver, and well, it was so good that we ate two plates-full and seriously contemplated returning for thirds.

Sausage Cassoulet

6-8 sausage links - I used Mt. Song chorizo (killer flavor) and andouille
5 rashers bacon, cut crossways into 1/2-inch thick slices
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a good handful of mixed fresh thyme and rosemary, tied in a bunch with kitchen twine
2 bay leaves
a large handful dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled into small bits
2 cans cherry or plum tomatoes and their juices
2-3 cups cannellini beans (soaked and cooked, or canned)
1/2 loaf day-old good crusty bread, torn into chunky pieces
good olive oil
2 tbsp duck fat
1/3 bottle red wine
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Boil 1 1/2 cups water, remove from heat and add porcinis, covering to rehydrate. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until brown on both sides. Add garlic, shallots, carrot, celery, and herb bunch and sauté for a few minutes further. Strain mushrooms from their liquid and add to the pan, stirring occasionally. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). After a few minutes with the porcinis sauteeing, pour in red wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add in the tomatoes, the beans, and the porcini liquid and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium sauté pan, melt the duck fat (or simply use a good glug of olive oil, if no duck fat can be located) and brown the sausages on all sides over medium heat. Just a couple minutes a side should do it, as the greater cooking will be done in the oven. Pour bacon-bean mixture into a roasting pan and push the sausages into the stew, allowing most of their surfaces to remain exposed so that they crisp up in the oven. In the remaining fat from the sausage sauté, toss the bread pieces with to coat, and then place atop the roasting mixture. Place into oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the bread and sausages become golden brown. Remove the herb bunch and serve with a crisp green salad or lightly wilted greens, such as spinach or chard.

Enjoy, and support your local farmers!

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