Chicken Cassoulet with Acorn Squash

This recipe was featured in a slideshow on Cooking Light and also appears on MyRecipes.com. I’ve added some tips to alter the recipe for it to go faster and still be as tasty (or ‘Rachel Ray-ed’ it, as my roommate would say).

This is a zesty soup filled with autumn flavors. A cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked bean stew or casserole. It can be soupier or drier, depending on your preference. I’ve opted for a soupier version, because it’s quicker.

Basically, if you want this cassoulet to cook faster, be sure to use already cooked chicken. Luckily I had some as leftovers from a day or two before. This may not be the technical way to blend the flavors and make it succulent and whatnot, but it works, it’s easy and it’s fast. Who wants to spend over 2 and a half hours making soup? Maybe if you have all the time in the world, but I live in college land.

I really liked this recipe, and my roommates agreed that it made the house smell amazing. There is a bit of meat in it, so if you’re vegetarian, simply cut it out and add more veggies. If you’re looking for a healthier option, cut out the bacon and/or sausage (though the sausage does add a nice flavor).

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegan margarine
1/2 chopped onion, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, divided (if using raw chicken)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided (if using raw chicken)
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
2 cups diced peeled acorn squash
3 large carrots, diced
1 15-ounce can white beans, drained
1 pound skinned, boned chicken breast (uncooked, or you can use leftover already baked chicken to make the recipe faster)
2 bacon slices
1/2 pound smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions

1. Melt margarine in a small pot over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the apple cider, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Set aside.

2. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 cups water, squash, and carrot in a large pot or dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Partially mash the beans with a potato masher, and add beans and tomato mixture to pot. Cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat.

3. If using raw, rub chicken with 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble bacon, and set aside. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from skillet; cut into 1-inch pieces. Add the rest of the onion and sausage to skillet; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the chicken, crumbled bacon, and sausage mixture to bean mixture in pan, stirring to combine.

4. If using raw chicken, cover and bake the cassoulet at 325° for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes. If using already cooked chicken–you’re in the clear and can eat at once (which is what I did to make the cooking time shorter).

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Categories: Season: Fall, Soup

Author:rsedlak1

Became a voracious, unapologetic bookworm in 4th grade after reading the first three Harry Potter books. Have a thing for dystopias, young adult novels, classic literature and funny memoirs (re: Mindy Kaling / Tina Fey). English and journalism geek, media and pop culture critic, food writer and blogger, editor of an entertainment magazine. Hobbies include: my Netflix account, cooking, gardening, music, art and hiking.

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