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CSA Cookoff Returns! This Week's Recipe: Cannellini & Bacon Cassoulet


Woohoo! CSA Cookoff’s holiday hiatus is finally over, albeit with a couple of ch-ch-ch-changes. First, since my favorite farm share is summer only, I’m trying a new-to-me food hub this winter. Boston Organics offers several home delivery options, including their Dogma Box, made up of produce sourced as close to Boston as possible. Details below on what arrived on my doorstep in week 1! Second, while ye olde Dogma Box and I get to know each other, CSA Cookoff will be biweekly, although my appetite will likely outgrow that schedule quickly enough.

If you’re shopping around for family-farmed food this winter, there’s another great option here in New England, Farmers to You, and I can’t say enough about Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks, which I relied on in Chicago when my other favorite CSA was in its off-season. Even better? Ask your own favorite farm if they have a winter share. Now, let’s get cooking!


CSA COOKOFF: WHAT CAME IN LAST WEEK’S BOX & HOW I USED IT

1. Rutabaga: Into a pork stew with 2, 4, 7 & 8.

2. Carrots: One landed in number 1, the other in this week’s recipe.

3. Sweet potato: This guy became fries alongside grass-fed burgers.

4. Onions: See 1 and 2.

5. Apples: Snacks!

6. Beets: Simple syrup for snow cones and Kirsten’s beet-citrus spread.

7. Parsnips: See 1.

8. Daikon: See 1.

9. Eggs: A couple of these bad boys over easy turned some leftover Guinness stew into breakfast.

RECIPE: CANNELLINI & BACON CASSOULET
It happens every winter like clockwork, but I’ve had a hankering lately for a white bean stew. I started with this idea from Epicurious, but because my cooking is governed more by my pantry than by a fancy-pants recipe, I went off script fast. I used cannellini beans, which I had on hand. And because discarding the veggies post-simmer sounded like a waste, I chose to dice them and leave them in the pot. If you’re using regular sliced bacon, especially wood-smoked, I would skip Epi’s step of curing the meat in sugar and salt. I’m incorporating a few other tweaks below for a dish that’s as delicious as winter is long. It even made be feel better about shoveling snow—and that’s saying something.

Feeds 4
» 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
» ¼ lb bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
» 3 cups cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
» 1 carrot, diced
» 1 onion, diced
» 4 cloves of garlic, diced
» 2-3 cups veggie broth
» 2 bay leaves
» pinch each of cayenne, thyme, sage, salt, pepper
» 2 Tbsp sherry
» several handfuls of baby spinach

Put the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic and cook 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add all of the other ingredients to the pot except the spinach and cover by an inch with stock. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook 1 hour 45 minutes.

If the dish is soupy at the end of the cook time, remove the lid and turn up the heat. When the mix is more creamy than stewlike, remove the bay leaves and add the spinach, stirring and simmering 5 minutes more. Dish, slurp, swoon!

STILL HUNGRY?
CSA Cookoff is an ongoing series that puts good food to good use. What did you get in your CSA this week? And how did you use it? Post a comment and share the farm share love!

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