Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Beef cassoulet

I found a gigantic chuck roast on sale the other day, which is always a sign to me that I need to make this recipe again. It's my version of a recipe by Padma Lakshmi in her cookbook, "Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet," and her recipe was a version of a cassoulet that doesn't use pork. But the point is that it's pretty tasty and is another good recipe for cleaning out the fridge and pantry.


1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
large boneless beef chuck roast, cut into large chucks (the one I used today was 4.5 pounds)
1 large yellow onion, quartered
1 medium red onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried rosemary (or 4 stalks rosemary 3 to 4 inches long, leaves stripped from stems)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (or more if you're not a wimp like me)
7 stalks whole celery, coarsely cut into large chunks, including the leaves
1 fennel bulb, quartered or cut smaller if it's a large bulb
1 1/2 tablesppons dried oregano
1 tablespoon marjoram
4-6 cups beef or chicken stock
6 ounces canned tomato paste
1 or 2 15-ounce cans white cannelini beans, drained


1. Gather all your ingredients.

2. Wash, prep, chop, slice, and measure as appropriate. If you need to use the jar of garlic instead of whole garlic cloves, I won't turn you in to the food police. And don't be afraid to throw in that extra half yellow bell pepper that was lurking in the fridge.

3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Salt and pepper the meat and brown on each side. Remove the meat and place on a platter.

4. Saute the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary for 3-4 minutes. Add more butter or oil if necessary.

5. Add the bell pepper, carrots, celery, and fennel, and stir for another 5 minutes.

6. Add the oregano, marjoram, and red pepper flakes. Let this cook for about 10 minutes. During this time, dissolve the tomato paste in about 1 1/2 cup of the stock.

7. Nestle the meat down into the vegetables.

8. Add the stock with the tomato paste mixed into it, then add the remaining stock.

9. Cover Dutch oven and either continue to cook over medium to medium-low heat for 2 to 2.5 hours, or transfer to oven at about 300 F for 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the beef has become tender. (Note: I usually make this in the late morning and then put it into the oven around 225 to 250 and let it go all day. You could do the same using a crock pot.)

10. In the last 15-20 minutes, stir in the beans.

11. Serve hot. You can serve this by itself, but it also goes great with polenta, mashed potatoes, or some noodles to soak up the sauce. And it can be made a day ahead--just cool, cover, and refrigerate. In fact, the leftovers probably taste better than the original.

PS. If you want to follow Padma's recipe, also add 1 cup pitted large green olives, preferably Middle Eastern ones; 3/4 pound veal rib chop; 3 whole dry red chiles; 2 Omani lemons shattered with a mallot; and 4 links merguez suasuage, chopped into bits.

1 comment:

  1. Yum...so rich and stick to the ribs hearty looking!! Thanks for the recipe!


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