16 January 2008


I am pleased to report that my foray into French cuisine turned out very well. The Cassoulet was delicious with loads of luscious herbs and sauce for dipping our rolls. The cherry Clafouti was equally divine and the perfect accessory to carryout my theme. I received rave reviews around the table from both hubby and my parents. Topped off with a perfect Chablis, it was one of the more enjoyable meals that I have made recently. This definitely goes on my “repeat” list for the future.

There’s something so gratifying about trying a new recipe and discovering new foods and tastes with other people. The unknown result can be a little frightening when you’re cooking for a dinner party, but I still like to use my guests as guinea pigs. It’s interesting to hear what each person has to say after taking their first bite. It’s even more pleasing when you hear that little “sigh” of contentment. To the chef, there’s no better sound than that of satisfied company. This is assuming, of course, that the guests are being genuine. Luckily, my parents have always been “very” honest people…

While I’d like to say that the meal was entirely my own creation, or a guarded family recipe, I have to give credit to a few sources: The Healthy Slow Cooker, a great buy for you health conscious CrockPot fans, and the Weight Watchers online recipe database.

In my opinion, good food should always be shared; this being said, I’d like to share these wonderful recipes with you. Try them for your next dinner party or a nice meal at home with your special someone. Hell…eat a bowl by yourself if you have to!

Cherry Clafouti

Cooking spray
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp table salt
1 oz cognac
1 cup low-fat milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a 10-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Arrange cherries over bottom of prepared pie plate and set aside

In large bowl, whisk together eggs until frothy; whisk in extract, salt, cognac and milk. Add flour and 1/3 sugar gradually, whisking with each addition; mix until just combined. Pour mixture over cherries and bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 300ºF and bake until centre of clafouti puffs up and a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Allow calfouti to cool before sprinkling with ¼ tsp. of powdered sugar. Cut into 6 pieces and serve.

Note: Traditional Calfouti is made with cherries, however it can also be made with virtually any fresh fruit or flash frozen fruit (however I wouldn’t recommend the latter). Try apples, pears or nectarines cut into little cubes, or whole berries like raspberries, blueberries or blackberries

Chicken Cassoulet

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
8 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. herbes de Provence
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 can (28oz/796ml) tomatoes, including juice, coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans (each 14-19oz/398 to540ml) white beans
2 bay leaves
2 lbs. skinless bone-in chicken thighs (or use chicken breast halves)
1 lb. cremini or portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped dill

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, herbes de Provence, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice, chicken stock, beans and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Spoon half of the bean mixture into slow cooker stoneware. Lay chicken evenly over top. Arrange mushrooms evenly over chicken. Spoon remainder of sauce over mushrooms

Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until juive run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Stir in dill. Cover and cook on High for 15 minutes, until flavours meld.

The recipe will easily serve a hungry crowd of 8 people. I recommend serving with some fresh whole wheat rolls, excellent for soaking up that luscious sauce! I also served with a simple garden salad.

Nutrients pre serving:
281 Calories, 24.4g Protein, 32.7g Carbohydrates, 6.8g Fat (1.4g sat., 2.6g mono, 1.5g poly), 10.3g Fiber, 948mg Sodium, 69mg Cholesterol.

N.B. If you would like to decrease the amount of sodium in this recipe, try making your own chicken stock and cook dried white beans with no added salt (instead of using the canned variety).


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