Thursday, April 14, 2011

White Beans and Sausage Stew

Patrimoine génétique... I am not talking (again) about GMOs (but yes, try to avoid them as much as possible!!)... but about the inherited diseases that we might face one day for just being the children of our parents'. I never realized how important it is until we started talking about cholesterol in my family (they speak arthritis in my husband's!!). I won't go into much details but having had a blood work done recently, I had the unpleasant surprise to discover that I, too, have a cholesterol problem, albeit minor at this stage.
But I am not even 40! And I eat quite a healthy diet, exercise, don't smoke, drink a glass of red wine  (or Pisco) here and there, and I am definitively not overweight!! Quite unfair, I want to say! Fair or not fair, that's what genetics is about...and we have to accept it...
So what do I do to avoid having to take medication? The only adjustments I could make are eating less cheese (but considering the price of good cheese here, it's not like we eat triple-cream cheese every day!!), banning red meat while increasing fish such as maquerel, salmon and other omega-3-loaded fish, and reducing the amount of butter and eggs I use when I bake. Quite a challenge, especially when it comes to baking! That said, I feel that, as for anything else, I'll just make compromises: eating a very low-cholesterol diet to be able to have a nice piece of cheese once-in-a-long-while. Voila!

The other thing that I worry is how much will my children inherit: between le cholesterol de maman (dad's needs to be checked btw because he claims that he does not have any but I yet have to see the results!!) and l'arthrose de papa, I just hope that genes dilution won't make our children suffer from any of it. Time will tell...
In the short term, this is one of the few recipes I'll stop eating for a while (or at all), well at least with the sausage option.  This is nothing like a French cassoulet but since we don't have the right beans nor the right meat to make a real cassoulet in Philadelphia, this is a nice proxy. Which makes me think that I won't be eating the canned cassoulet we brought back from France last Summer. Anybody wants to come for dinner? Bon Appétit!

- Great Northern White Beans (preferably dry&soaked but canned will do to)
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- a few carrots, cut into small pieces.
- Fresh thyme
- Cumin seeds (1/4 ts, more if you like it a lot)
- Kielbasa sausage (enough to feed your family; more if you want leftovers)

  • In a thick-bottom pot (like a cast-iron), saute the onion and the garlic in olive oil.
  • Add the cumin seeds , the carrots and coat with olive oil
  • Add thyme.
  • If you are using canned beans, pour the beans into the pot, add the sausage and cook at low temperature for 15-20 minutes (you only want the carrots to be cooked)
  • If you are using pre-soaked beans, you will want to cover the beans with water, add the sausage and cook at low temperature for about 1h30 (or until the beans are tendered). 
My Personal Comments
  • You could add a few pieces of bacon or ham or even pork butt into the dish for extra cholesterol flavor!
  • Don't hesitate to make more because it makes great leftover!

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