So… veering off a bit to give an update of some events… I’m still not a millionaire, but I did finish the race without falling off the mountain. This past Saturday, I raced in the Badger Mountain Challenge 15k. It was my very first race ever and although I was jittery the day before, I decided to just have a good time that morning. It was cold and windy, certainly not the best weather for racing up a mountain. I started about 5 minutes late because I needed to use the bathroom. Racing with a full bladder wouldn’t have been fun. After the potty stop, off I went running up the hill to start… then I slowed down and just hiked fast. I thought it would be best to save my breath for later because the first uphill was tough. The downhill run was pretty smooth. DFJ was down at the bottom cheering me on and that gave me the will to run on the paved road that followed on the way to the other side of the mountain. Let me tell you, I have never ran farther than 4 miles at one time… so I was quite surprised at how I just kept going. There was about a mile or two of dirt path that followed, which was a relief for my tired feet. The ground was soft and cushy. Before I knew it, we were going up the other side of the mountain… I slowed to a hike, which was essential to keep myself from fainting. The sun shone for a little bit and cast a beautiful glow at the orchards below us. It was quite a spectacular view! Then, as fast as it came, it disappeared and I started feeling cold and had a stomach cramp going downhill. I just wanted to be done and kept going, going, and… I made it. Official time: 2:09:47.
Anyhoo, back to this dish… I stayed pretty close to the recipe and was very pleased with the result. It is very similar to last week’s Vegetables au Vin with Coq. Simple, hearty, filling, and very flavorful. I especially love the chickpeas in it and the smoky finish that cayenne added to the broth!
Here are the few changes I made:
I cooked 2 cups of dry chickpeas with 3 cups chicken stock, ¾ cup tomato juice, and ¼ cup of water on medium low heat for a long time until the chickpeas were done. At some point, the beans looked dry, so I added ½ cup of water and a pinch of salt to taste.
Usually, I veer away from sausages because all the fat that comes out just grosses me out (the eating it part, not so much), but for this cassoulet, I used this Al Fresco Chicken Sausage. This brand has 70% less fat and does not use any artificial ingredients… score!
Asparagus was used in lieu of zucchini and an extra can of tomatoes was dumped in addition to the diced fresh tomatoes. The bay leaves were accidentally forgotten, but it was still good. Also, because the sausages I used did not render any fat, I added half a tablespoon of butter for that silky broth texture.
A very healthy dish, without compromising flavors! Enjoy!