Who has thyme for that?

Today I’m making a very simplistic variation of the classic French dish “cassoulet”. Normally it has a list of esoteric ingredients as long as your arm and takes two days to make it properly. So this is one that can probably be done in 2-3 hours and of course, it’s using one meat (smoked ham hocks) instead of the usual suspects.

But first, I’m just going to rant about nature for a minute. Thyme. It’s a lovely herb and fresh thyme tastes wonderful with a great fragrance. However, harvesting the thyme leaves without the stalks is a tedious process – each tiny stalk contains a few delicate leaves and you just rub them backwards… except you have to do this with every stalk… Argh…. Anyway….

So anyway, I took two cups of Great Northern beans, added a pack of smoked ham hocks (chopped into bite-sized pieces) and pressure-cooked them for 90 minutes.

After draining off the liquid, I sauted the onions for 30 minutes, added garlic, then added San Marzano tomatoes that had been chopped and drained. Finally, the thyme and sage (the herb from our garden, not the dog*).

Next, a cup of wine….

And finally all the beans and pork were added along with the reserved tomato juices and stirred. I put the lid on and stuck it in the oven for an hour at 300f so the flavours can mingle.

So, the final step is to add a top layer of breadcrumbs and butter and turn up the heat to 425f for a 10+ minutes (monitor it since this is the critical phase – don’t let it burn).

Until finally…

*There may be some dog hair in this dish.

Original recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/3913-smoked-ham-hock-cassoulet

Good cassoulet recipe (with ingredients): https://www.dartagnan.com/cassoulet-recipe-kit/product/KCSLT001-1.html

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