Celebrity Home Chef #21 and The Oldest Profession….

Hi everyone! No, our celebrity home chef is not a prostitute, but a nit picker. Now, please don’t discriminate against her recipe just because of her day ( and night) job. This dish sounds fantastic!

I would like to call her dish “Lice Lady Cassoulet” , but Suzanne McDonald simply calls it, “Cassoulet”, which sounds very fancy and French.

Suzanne says it is a great idea for a “class basket” or “silent auction basket” because one can pack up the dry ingredients, a Le Creuset Dutch Oven, and the recipe!

Thanks , Suzanne!

P.S. I hope you local Montclair people never need her services but if you do, her site is:



6 slices thick bacon
“swirl” of olive oil (maybe 2)
1/4 stick of butter
2 large yellow onions (peel & chop up small)
2 leeks (slice thin & rinse the crap outta them)
1/2 cup sherry, port or marsala wine
4-6 cloves of garlic (chop or smash flat)
2 shallots (slice in thin slices – they will just disappear)
2 large carrots (peel & chop up small)
2 large pieces celery (chop up small – equal to carrot)
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large bay leaf
1.5 lbs chicken breast (or ground chicken, pork or lamb)
2 or 3 large (around 20 oz.) cans of crushed tomato
3 cans of white beans
1 quart container chicken stock (get the organic if possible)
chopped flat parsley
kosher salt & coarse black pepper


Set up the bacon on a rack on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 for 10-15 minutes.
Remove and crumble into a small bowl and keep to the side.

Use a Dutch Oven if you have one, or a heavy-bottomed soup pot, or just begin in a large frying pan then add as you go to a large stock pot.

Turn the heat up almost full blast under the pot.
“Swirl” in the Olive Oil so it covers 1/2 the bottom of the pan – then throw in the butter.
Saute the onion, leeks & shallots until everything is getting quite hot then pour in the wine (hear the “sizzle”!)
Turn the heat down and move everything around until it starts to carmelize.
Add the garlic, carrots & celery.
Add the thyme & bay leaf.
Once everything is getting soft & great-smelling, transfer to a large bowl and cover with foil.

Turn the heat up high under the pot again.
You may need to “swirl” more olive oil in the pan.
Add the meat and cook thoroughly – add some salt & pepper here as you like.
Add the crushed tomato (use 2 cans to start) and the beans.
Add back in all the veggies & herbs from the bowl.
Turn the flame down and cook (stir occasionally) for a few hours.
(do not put the lid on tightly – prop slightly open on a wooden spoon or similar)
Add in Chicken Stock as needed as it cooks – add more crushed tomato if you think you need it.

When you are ready to serve in bowls top with some bacon & parsley.
Serve with warm bread & butter or breadsticks.

If life allows, this is MUCH better the next day. You will definitely need to add some of the Chicken Stock as you warm it up.
The ingredients are not etched in stone in terms of the quantities or even the ingredients themselves – use what you have and replace as you see fit depending upon what your family likes!


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