Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Cassoulet

I just went through a rather dramatic week in computer-land.  My hard drive fried.  Like an idiot, nothing was backed up.  I didn't have that much on it that I would miss forever, just the first ten pages of a re-write I'm going to attack next month and a slide show of two years of cleaning out my house so it no longer looks like an episode of Hoarding.  As I have discovered after recently organizing a hundred years' worth of family photos, at least I have them.  They can be held in your hand or put in an album or frame.  While subject to the ravages of time, they cannot be erased by a speck of dust on a microchip, and I have the negatives for most of them.  Mostly, I just had to borrow a computer to check my email and couldn't upload photos to the blog.  It's all better now, and thanks to pre-scheduling, you would never know anything had happened if I hadn't told you.  Took forever to re-establish my bookmarks.

I wasn't sure that "cassoulet" was the right name for what I was throwing together, so I looked up the definition in my food dictionary.  Basically, it's the French name for pork'n'beans.  Change the herbs, omit tomato paste, and you're good to go.  I didn't use duck fat or large pieces of meat, but it's close enough.

And I have discovered yet another use for Sprouts' bacon ends.

1 C dry Great Northern Beans
*1/2 onion, minced
1/4 lb chopped bacon
1 lb sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
*1/8 tsp ground cloves
*1/2 tsp thyme
*1/2 tsp rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Sort and rinse beans.  Cover with water and let soak overnight.  Drain.

2.  In a medium frying pan, sauté bacon until the fat renders.  Remove any large pieces of fat.  Add onion and cook until soft.

3.  Boil at least 2 C water and preheat the oven to 250º.  Combine all ingredients except the sweet potato in an oven-safe casserole with a lid.  Pour water over to cover by about one inch.  Stir again.  Cover and place in oven to bake for 2 hours.  Check water level once an hour and add more as necessary to keep moist, but it no longer has to cover by a full inch.

4.  After two hours, add the sweet potatoes.  Stir to combine, and add water just to the top of the cassoulet.  Return to oven and cook until potatoes are done, at least 30 minutes.  Serve hot, but tastes just as good the next day either hot or cold.

Serves 4 to 5

Difficulty rating :)

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