Monday, January 6, 2014

Braised Chicken and Kale Cassoulet - The Canadian Food Experience Project "Resolutions"

Happy New Year everyone!

As you know, I took a little time off blogging over the holidays, and I have to tell you - what an amazing couple of weeks it's been!

First of all, Vaughan and I broke with tradition this year when we learned our 22 year old son wouldn't be home for the holidays. While we were heartbroken at first, we decided to make a "resolution" this year to accept what was as a gift instead of a loss, and in the grand scheme of believing everything happens for a reason, it was a resolution that turned out to be life changing!

Though I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions, there is always a push in me come January to climb out of my turkey and gravy induced coma  and look to the future. A look that always includes healthier eating and an excitement about the unknown adventures that await me in the year ahead.

The Canadian Food Experience Project became one of those unknown adventures for me in 2013 - especially when it came to writing about the food related traditions of my family - so I was excited to join in  on this, the 8th project, by sharing my thoughts on resolutions and a really fabulous recipe. In saying that, however, I've learned something new...

Traditions, like rules, are sometimes meant to be broken and although we usually do the same things every holiday season, we decided to make a change this Christmas. Instead of moping around missing our son, we booked hotel rooms, a flight, and a winter cabin and embarked on the Christmas adventure of a lifetime re-living our West Coast version of the story "The City Mouse and the Country Mouse."


 In honour of the city mouse, we booked a seaplane to Vancouver BC - one of the world's most amazing cities and only a 20 minute puddle jump from our home on Vancouver Island. We took in the sights, the sounds, the restaurants, and the shopping, and in so doing we christened the advent of what was to become a magical holiday.

Some culinary highlights included flaming crepes filled with Nutella and bananas,  authentic German food like spaetzle, fresh sausage, schnitzle, and hot mulled wine at an outdoor German Christmas festival, and a Japadog - which in my humble opinion is a must have when you visit Vancouver.

Better still we had time to visit our son and do all kinds of things we normally wouldn't have - all without the stress of battling the crowds looking for last minute gifts because that was another tradition we resolved to change. In our family we decided to forgo traditional gift giving and instead use the money we would have spent to do good things for others and I am here to tell you, that was the BEST gift any one of us has ever given or received.

On the 23rd we headed back to island and brought my famous tourtieres to my parents place for dinner and then on the 24th we drove to the far west coast of Vancouver Island where, country mouse style, we stayed in a quaint little cabin right on the beach for the rest of the holidays.

To join us on portions of the trip - including my husband Vaughan's Christmas eve dance moves - just watch the video at the end of this post!

In the meantime, and in the spirit of resolutions, after all the nibbling, noshing, and wine drinking of the holidays I've come back down to earth for another year and wanted to create a recipe that would be healthy, delicious, and filled with nutrients and with today's Braised Chicken and Kale Cassoulet I have done just that!




This easy to make dish is so darned amazing I truly hope you'll try it! You can make it with 2, 4, or 6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs. With 2 you'll have more leftover sauce which makes a wonderful dinner mixed with rice the second night!

Visit the printable recipe here: Braised Chicken and Kale Cassoulet 

Please enjoy the step by step video, it includes some fun holiday footage!




Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or a mixture of both
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 796 ml, 28 fl oz tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 540 ml, 19 fl oz tin drained mixed beans
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 cups chopped kale
Directions
  1. Saute the onion, celery, and carrot in the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed stockpot or sauce pan over medium high heat for 3 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. 
  2. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add them to the pan cooking them 2 minutes or so on each side just until golden. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds until the garlic begins to grow fragrant. 
  3. Pour the chicken stock over and deglaze all the good flavour off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, beans, cumin, and chili powder and stir well. Bring to a simmer, turn to medium low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. During the last 5 minutes of cooking stir in the kale and let cook until the kale is wilted. 
  5. Serve over rice.


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Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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