By Tommy C. Simmons, an enthusiastic cook
Photograph by Tommy C. Simmons
Our Lake Arrowhead neighbor Iris Smith is a fabulous cook. She likes trying different recipes and enjoys researching the origins of the new dishes she discovers. Recently, Iris shared a recipe for a Three-Bean Cassoulet with Cornmeal Dumplings, which she found on SouthernLiving.com.
Inexpensive to make, Three-Bean Cassoulet with Cornmeal Dumplings will become a comfort food favorite.
A cassoulet is a slow-cooked casserole originating in France, containing beans, meat or sausage and vegetables. It was a common man's staple in the French province of Languedoc and according to legends, many families kept a cassoulet simmering on the stove year in and year out for decades.
Iris's husband loved Southern Living magazine's cassoulet version and said it reminded him of a dish his grandmother in Mississippi would make.
My family has always enjoyed bean-rich casseroles and we often make variations to use up odds and ends from the freezer and refrigerator. When I tried the Three-Bean Cassoulet, I substituted lady peas for the black-eyed peas and omitted the ham. I've also added a handful of chopped collards, when available.
Here is the original recipe:
Home kitchen-tested recipe
Three-Bean Cassoulet with Cornmeal Dumplings
Serves 6 to 8. Recipe is from SouthernLiving.com, January 2016.
1 cup sliced carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped red onion
1 tbl. olive oil
2 tsps. minced garlic
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cooked cubed ham
1 (16-oz.) pkg. frozen baby lima beans
1 (16-oz.) pkg. frozen butter peas
1 cup frozen black-eyed peas
1 (32-oz.) container reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tsps. finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp. table salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup plain yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbls. cold butter, cubed
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
2/3 cup buttermilk
Prepare Cassoulet: Sauté carrots and onion in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
Add ham and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Stir in lima beans, butter peas, black-eyed peas, chicken broth, rosemary, salt and black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare Dumplings: Whisk together flour and cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl.
Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in rosemary; add buttermilk, and stir just until dough is moistened.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls ½ to 1 inch apart into simmering bean mixture. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until Dumplings are done and dry to the touch. Serve immediately.
Testing note: To add richness to the Dumplings, I substituted 2 tablespoons chive and onion-seasoned 1/3 Less Fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread for some of the buttermilk. You have to use just enough buttermilk to bind the dough.
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By Joan Casanova, Bonnie Plants,
Photographs courtesy of Bonnie Plants
Temperatures are rising and high heat can wreak havoc in the vegetable garden. When temps climb to the upper 80's and sometimes soar into the 90's and 100's, plants need some assistance in fending off the Fahrenheit.
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