Today I introduce you to Katie, author of Health for the Whole Self. I have to tell you guys that there are only a handful of blogs I regularly read which are not dedicated food and recipe blogs, and hers is one of them. Katie’s eye-opening articles about women’s issues, self image, and overall health and fitness always leave me feeling enlightened, deep in thought, or simply like I have a friend and I’m not alone in my struggles. On top of all that, she’s a food lover just like the rest of us!
Je veux le cassoulet, s’il vous plaît, I said slowly, pointing at the menu.
It was the second night of my week-long trip to France, and I was relishing it all – the food, the language, the people. The entire first day my stomach called out for nothing but chocolate croissants, so by the time we arrived in the cozy restaurant-bar that second night I was ready for something hearty. Don’t get me wrong, the pastries were to die for, but I didn’t want to spend so much time eating sugar that I missed the country’s other culinary experiences.
As soon as I saw the menu, I zeroed in on the cassoulet. I had learned about the dish in my high school French class and knew that it would be wonderful.
A cassoulet – so named because of the deep pot its usually cooked in – is a rich, thick stew with white beans and meat. It’s generally not the lightest meal ; it usually contains some of the fattier meats, like lamb or even duck, and is cooked with lots of additional fat as well.
Since that’s not how I usually cook at home, I went looking for a lighter version of a cassoulet to re-create in my own kitchen. While my version didn’t turn out exactly like the one I had in France, it was still a delicious meal, perfect for enjoying outside on a crisp spring night.
Lightened-Up Chicken Cassoulet with White Beans and Turkey Kielbasa
Adapted from Eating Well
2 cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 oz. low-fat turkey kielbasa, sliced into ½ inch pieces
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1. Using a fork or a potato masher, mash ½ cup of the white beans in a medium bowl. Add the remaining whole beans.
2. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large, deep skillet (I used a wok, actually) over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, adding a tbsp of water if the pan gets too dry.
4. Add rosemary, thyme, and black pepper. Add wine and cook until it has reduced by about half, about 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth plus ½ cup water. Then add the kielbasa, beans, and chicken. Bring to a boil.
6. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
7. Meanwhile, toast the breadcrumbs: toss with about a tsp of olive oil, then cook in a second skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
8. Serve the stew with the toasted breadcrumbs on top.