Thursday, October 16, 2008


By Brooke Prince

Fetish: any object, idea, activity etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion
We all have a fetish..I myself, have several..there are the usual chick fetishes:
Italian shoes, red wine, fashion magazines, chocolate, Italian men.

I have one that I have just recently been able to admit to myself that it is, indeed, a fetish.

Not a hobby, not a pastime, not just something I enjoy - but something I am obsessed with, I get withdrawals from if I don't do it - something that I fully believe to be part (there are many parts) of the essence of my being.

Cooking. That's, it. I love to cook, collect recipes, make-up new recipes, cook for people I love, etc. etc. So why am I not a professional chef? Because if a fetish were a career, it would no longer have appeal of being a fetish. Anyway, on to the main point here. I thought, to officially welcome Fall, I would share one of my utmost favorite, fail proof, flavorful and impressive to anyone with any sense of taste, recipes.
One rule though - when following a recipe, never quite follow it. Add mushrooms, change a spice - if you like capers, well, by all means - garnish liberally with capers. You get the idea - go crazy, it only gets better..and this dish is healthy enough to keep you in those skinny jeans all winter long (several amazing styles to be found @ ).

Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 pounds country-style spareribs (or pork shoulder or pork loin, cut into 1-inch-thick slices)2 medium onions, peeled and chopped2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 whole clove2 whole sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 tablespoons thyme leaves (have for garnish, never underestimate the powers of a good garnishing) 1 pound bacon (slab is best), cut into 2-inch pieces1 large stalk celery, chopped (I personally hate celery, I don't get the point, but if you like it, by all means - add it in)1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste4 cups chicken broth1 cup white wine (then you can drink the rest while it cooks)1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juice
Mushrooms - I don't know how many, just a few handfuls of sliced mushrooms should do the trick.2 bay leaves2 (14-ounce) cans beans, drained and rinsed (I use white beans and kidney beans)Plenty of olive oil..plenty.2 cups coarse bread crumbs
(4) ½ thick slices of French Bread2 tablespoons chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place the spareribs/meat in a heavy pot with half the onion, half the minced garlic, and the thyme sprigs.
3. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. I bake for only an hour if I am using a boneless meat.
4. Remove the ribs; set aside.
5. In the same pot, over medium heat, brown the bacon.
6. Remove all but about 4 tablespoons of the fat and add the celery (gross), carrot, salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and the remaining onion and garlic (minced and whole) and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Add the broth, wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, and beans. Bring to a simmer, then add the cooked ribs.
8. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the olive oil, bread crumbs, and parsley.
9. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the cassoulet and then arrange the sliced the bread around the perimeter of the pot and drizzle with olive oil.
10. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered, occasionally pressing the bread crumbs into the cassoulet to thicken it.
11. Let cool, garnish and serve with a winter greens salad and hearty red vino.

I encourage everyone to go home, tie on that apron (that just an apron- depending on who you are cooking for), pour a nice large glass of Malbec and prepare this recipe. I believe you will find this single dish could quite possible be the beginning of a cooking fetish for you too.... or at least you will have an amazingly tasty treat to dine off and share for the next week.
xoxo - enjoy

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