Gluten Free Mexican Cassoulet Recipe
The inspiration for this gluten-free, cross-cultural main dish comes from the word “cassoulet” itself. Cass-OLE! Right? I know it is French, but it just sounds like a Mexican Party ready to happen!
Cassoulet is basically a peasant dish from the South of France. It always contains beans and usually some sort of pork, sausage and bacon and duck confit*. I have been thinking about making cassoulet for years but have never been able to work up to the challenge. Honestly it seemed like a lot of work for what is essentially fancy pork and beans. Plus I always seem to be fresh out of duck confit!
Well I finally decided to try my hand at a cassoulet but decided to give it a little Mexican twist and to use my slow cooker. My slow cooker was my saving grace when the boys were young, I would throw everything into in the morning and come home from work with my hungry brood and there sat dinner, all cooked and ready for us to eat. I had forgotten what a time-saver the slow cooker really is plus as the temperatures rise here in Florida, it is so nice to have dinner cook away without having to crank up the stove or oven for hours.
I also saved time by using Hurst Family Harvest Southwestern White Bean Chili Mix – beans and seasoning all in one packet. I found it at my local supermarket, Publix, but they also sell it at Whole Foods and other stores.
Let me just say a word about packaged bean mixes. I have always loved them, and in fact when I go to visit someone for the weekend I will usually bring along a basket filled with a few varieties, some gluten-free cornbread mix and some jars of jam. But I have run into trouble with packaged bean mixes in the past; while beans are naturally gluten-free often the seasoning packets are not and contain things I do not want to eat like preservatives, MSG and artificial flavors.
So I am loving the fact that Hurst Family Harvest not only grows and harvests the highest quality beans but takes care to keep all the yucky stuff out of their products.
So with a slow cooker, a bag of beans (which soaked overnight while I slept), some chorizo, an inexpensive pork roast and a few other ingredients I made a Mexican inspired, hearty dinner in about 10 minutes (ok, technically it was 10 minutes and 8 hours, but I don’t think the time the slow cooker was working counts!) and on top of that, I came home to a blissfully cool kitchen and a house that smelled amazing.
No duck confit required!
Gluten Free Mexican Cassoulet Recipe
1 bag Hurst Family Harvest White Southwestern White Bean Chili
5 tablespoons olive oil – use divided
1 pound cured chorizo
1½ pounds pork roast
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 mild green chilies, roughly chopped
1 pound tomatillas, roughly chopped
2 – 15.5 ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed (omit if corn free)
1½ cups gluten-free chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or Italian flat leaf parsley
Fresh limes for garnish, optional
Remove the flavor packet from the beans and reserve. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with about 2 inches of cold water. Let soak overnight or for at least 4 hours. Rinse under running water.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Slice the chorizo and pork into 1 inch chunks and brown in the hot oil for about 5 minutes or until evenly browned. (You can skip this step if you like but browning adds more flavor.) Place the browned meat in the slow cooker along with the beans, chilies, tomatillas, hominy, chicken stock, tomato paste and the seasoning packet from the beans. Cook on low for 8 – 9 hours.
Just before serving-time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the cilantro or parsley.
When the cassoulet is done, taste and add salt and pepper to taste if needed. If your slow cooker has an insert that is oven safe then just top the cassoulet with the bread crumb mixture and put in the oven for 10 minutes to toast the topping. If your slow cooker does not have an oven proof insert, just place the cassoulet in a baking dish, top with the crumbs and pop that in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve with fresh lime quarters if desired.
This Gluten Free Mexican Cassoulet recipe makes 6-8 servings.
*Confit – This term is a French word that is best translated as preserving. In the savory kitchen, it historically refers to a meat submerged in flavorful rendered fat and cooked slowly until very tender. Confit has recently been expanded to include interpretations such as slowly cooking meat, fish or vegetables in a flavorful oil such as olive oil.
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