Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cassoulet in an Instant Pot #KitchenMatrixCookingProject

Did you know that the French dish, Cassoulet, had it's very own holiday?  Neither did I, but I learned that January 9th is the day set aside to celebrate this comforting, homey dish that originated in the Languedoc region of France.

There are some amazing wines from the Languedoc region as well and we are celebrating those wines this month over in the French Winophiles group to which I belong.  I will post more about that on Saturday when I talk about how these wines paired with this recipe that I'm sharing today.

My friend, Cam, invited us to join her on a journey this year as she cooked her way through Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix Cookbook.  You can read all about her challenge and join us if you'd like.  All the information is found in this post.

Each Tuesday we post a recipe inspired by a section or subsection of this cookbook that encourages you to think outside the box and be creative with recipes.  As luck would have it, Bittman has a section just for Cassoulet.  Since Cam also belongs to our Winophile group, she chose Cassoulet as our entrée for this month.  Thank you, Cam.

Bittman wrote a recipe for classic Cassoulet containing duck stock and duck confit.  I love duck but, unfortunately, am the only in the household that does.  I have made Cassoulet in the past, sans duck, using my slow cooker.  That recipe was also used to celebrate the wines of Languedoc and can be found in this post.

I was tempted to follow Bittman's recipe to a T. The thought of buying a whole duck, making stock and confit and braising it all in the with some lamb was very appealing to me.  I could invite company for dinner and have Frank suffer through having to eat not only duck but lamb too, for which he also doesn't care.

Then, as I read through Bittman's thoughts on Cassoulet a couple of sentences struck me and stuck in my mind.

"There are two ways to think of cassoulet.  The first is as a canonical recipe from the South of France.  The second way is as simply a glorified version of franks 'n' beans."
"When making a traditional dish it is important to remember that the people who "invented" them just used what they had."
Glorified Beanie Weenies?  Count me in coach.  Frank LOVES Beanie Weenies.

I went into the freezer to see what I had.  I had a package of spare ribs and some smoked chicken sausage.  I also had a day filled with errands to run and since I had already made a slow cooker cassoulet and wasn't going to be home to tend to the oven, I decided to make my cassoulet in the  Instant Pot.

One of the things I love about the Instant Pot is the saute setting that allows you to brown your meat right inside the pot, instead of dirtying another pan and smattering up your stovetop.  I cut the ribs into portions, seasoned them with salt and pepper and browned them before adding the sausage, beans and vegetables to the pot with some chicken stock.

I adjusted the setting on the pot to the stew/meat function that automatically sets the timer to cook for 35 minutes.  It takes about 10-15 minutes for the heat and pressure to build to the point where it starts to cook.  Once done cooking, I let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before opening the quick release valve.

Because I used spare ribs, I had the added step of removing any bones and gristle from the dish, before dishing it up and sprinkling some seasoned bread crumbs over the top.  All in all it took about an hour and 15 minutes from the time I pulled out the ingredients to being read to serve.  That's not too bad considering it would take a minimum of 4-5 hrs. if making it in the traditional fashion.  And that is after spending a couple of days making your stock and confit.

I do hope to make a traditional cassoulet one day but in the meantime this version and my slow cooker version are certainly delicious and comforting during these cold winter days.

Make sure you stop by and see how the others created their Cassoulet. You will find links immediately below my recipe.

Cassoulet in an Instant Pot
inspired by Kitchen Matrix by Mark Bittman

2 T. olive oil
6 portions meaty spare ribs
salt and pepper, to taste
2 chicken sausages, cut into thirds
2 c. white beans, soaked for a few hours (I used Northern beans)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 carrot, scraped and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 an onion, diced
1 T. Herbs de Provence
Garlic seasoned bread crumbs, if desired

Add the oil to the Instant Pot and set to saute setting.  Season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Add them to the pot and brown on all sides.  Add the sausage, beans, broth, onions, carrots, celery and Herbs de Provence to the Instant Pot.  Cancel the saute setting and seal the lid onto the pot, making sure the vent is closed.  

Set the Instant Pot to meat/stew setting.  It will automatically set up to cook for 35 minutes once the pot is heated and pressurized.  When done cooking, allow the steam to naturally release for 10 minutes before carefully releasing the remaining steam.  When pressure gauge is seated, open the pot and remove the ribs to a cutting board.  Remove the meat, discarding the bones and any gristle.  Return the meat to the pot and stir to combine.  

Serve garnished with seasoned bread crumbs, if desired.  Print Recipe

More Comforting Cassoulets


  1. Thanks for joining me, Wendy. I was so daunted by making cassoulet. But I'm glad I did it. Yours looks scrumptious!

    1. I am going to make one from scratch one day. I just need to find the right group of friends to join me.

  2. Ooh, I love this. I find regular cassoulet a bit of a daunting task, so this seems like a great pared-down version. Perfect for the Instant Pot.

  3. Your Cassoulet looks fabulous Wendy! I've always done an easier version but would like to make it from scratch one day too. I think more time consuming than difficult. Cheers!

    1. I think you're right Lynn and you would think being retired time would not be an issue but I swear I had more time when I was working full time LOL


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