Instant Pot Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a hearty French stew of meat and beans. Perfect comfort food for Canadian fall and winter. Made easier with the Instant Pot. This recipe is modified from one no longer on the web, but it’s original remains. A classic from Thomas Keller. I’ve made it a couple of times and I quite enjoy it. I find it hard to procure chicken garlic sausage, you could use chicken sausage or even mild Italian sausage. I wouldn’t call this a traditional cassoulet but it is pretty darn tasty.

Instant Pot IP-DUO60


Print Recipe
Instant Pot Cassoulet with lots of Veggies
Adapted from Thomas Keller (
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes including venting
Passive Time 50 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes including venting
Passive Time 50 minutes
  1. Season the pork ribs generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Set pressure cooker to Sauté to heat up the insert. Add the bacon to the insert and cook until crisp on both sides, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon fat in the insert.
  3. Add half of the pork to the insert and brown on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining pork.
  4. Add the onions, carrot, celery, zucchini, kale and 1 teaspoon salt to the insert and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and broth. Turn off the Sauté feature. Add the pork, sausage, beans, rosemary, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, kombu and garlic. Stir everything to combine.
  5. Place the lid on the pressure and lock into place. Press the Meat/Stew Button. When done, release pressure naturally. If pressed for time, NPR for 10 minutes then open the vent. Remove lid, skim off the fat, and remove and discard the bay leaf and piece of kombu. Adjust the seasonings with kosher salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle cassoulet into individual serving bowls, top with reserved bacon and fresh minced parsley. Serve with crusty rolls on the side.
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Stomach Flu

I’m recovering from a bout of gastroenteritis AKA the stomach flu for about a week now. This is the worst case of gastro I have ever had. Well, the other adult in my house had it worse than me… I was confined to my bed for 1.5 days due to extreme fatigue, muscle aches and headache. Three days of runny diarrhea. Nausea and stomach upset. Intolerance to coffee and dairy. 3 lbs lost. I guess it’s not that bad compared to my bout of gastritis earlier this year which left me with a modified diet for a month and spearheaded a weight loss of 15 lbs. Which I needed but that’s besides the point.

After a week, here is what I did to get myself back on my feet.

1) I never stopped having my kefir for breakfast. Even when I just couldn’t eat. I stuck with a half portion of steel cut oats with blueberries, honey and kefir. I took out the flax, hemp hearts, tumeric, black pepper, prunes and granola.

2) When the diarrhea stopped, i started having a small serving of real, fermented kimchi a day. I moved to twice a day, the changed to real fermented sauerkraut (Thanks Holy Kraut!) a few times a day.

3) My order of Florastor arrived today and I started taking that.

4) I avoided coffee after it started upsetting my stomach and just returned to it  today with no ill effects.

5) The only dairy I have eaten is the kefir, and a tiny amount of shredded cheese on a toddler sized portion of pizza.  I’m going to try ice cream tomorrow and see what happens.

6) I stocked up on probiotic foods to replenish the good bacteria. I prefer food to supplements so that I know I am getting live bacteria. This just knocked the wind out of me so I went with the pills (Florastor) for the first time.

7) I normally eat a diet rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics are food for the bacteria. Oatmeal, raw fruits and veggies anything with a substantial fibre component.

Here are my purely unscientific, foodie opinions on gut flora, and building a better microbiome. I think this is a trending topic these days.

Lactose intolerance. I was never lactose intolerant growing up. I used to chug a few glasses of milk every day. Over the years I have developed intolerance to varying degrees, so much that I have cut out drinking milk from the glass in my diet. I have built tolerance to the point that I can consume yogurt, cheese, ice cream and butter in moderate quantities with no issue.  A few things do affect my tolerance for dairy. Hormone shifts, and any type of gastrointestinal inflammation.  I get diarrhea and I know I’ve had too much. Well, with the gastritis, I pretty much couldn’t eat anything.

Caffeine intolerance. I have had this many times. Definitely hormone influenced. Also influenced by gastrointestinal inflammation.  I get nauseated when my tolerance is low. I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but when my tolerance is good, I can drink 3 cups a day. I normally drink one or two.

Jellyfish intolerance. This one is strange. I am not allergic  to seafood, but I throw up shortly after eating it.

Soy intolerance. This one is also strange. I used to eat a lot of tofu growing up. But I suspect it gave me awful periods because of the phytoestrogen. I can eat fermented soy like miso, soy sauce and tempeh. But I need to steer clear of tofu (which I love), soymilk and edamame. One serving every couple of weeks is fine.

I am a foodie. I have tried all sorts of things.  Century eggs, chicken feet, stinky tofu, sweetmeats, natto, durian, fungus other than mushrooms, blue rare beef, pretty well all shellfish (I love crab guts!) and some kind of preserved clam that smells like stinky socks. Even with my penchant for local, healthy and organic food, I still venture to the Chinese grocery store and buy those unidentified packages of dried ingredients my mom used to cook, mostly in soup, in my childhood. Who knows what they put in that stuff. Ok, there are a few things I won’t eat. Insects, worms, and some others that aren’t top of mind right now. Oh, and this!

I think with a diversity in diet comes a huge diversity in the bacteria that populate the gut. I have no identifiable food allergies, just intolerances. I suspect that my eagerness to try new foods as a youth has given me a healthy gut. I read some research somewhere that people in developing countries have a more diverse gut microbiome than westernized countries and less incidence of food allergies.

I have traveled a bit, but not in the last ten years or so. I’ve been to Mexico (not a resort), Belize (island kayaking and camping), Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong (love the street food!) and Great Britain. The US. doesn’t count. My trip to SE Asia was with GAP Adventures and it was stay where the locals stay, eat where they eat kind of a trip. I only got sick once, and that was in Thailand. I suspect that I may have my gut microbiome to thank for my tolerance.

After my bout with gastritis, I caught 2 colds in a row. I didn’t even recover from the first before I got the second. Even with kids, before the gastritis, I caught very few colds.  There is definitely a link between the gut and the immune system.

Moral of the story? Trust your gut. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. Full stop.


Yes, this blog is still alive, sort of. I took hubby out for his birthday dinner about a month ago to Whitehall. I was looking for something different; and a modern take on British influenced cuisine fit the bill. Whitehall has been around for a couple of years and I’ve always been curious about it. It’s a restaurant that has a Michelin starred touch, thanks to its chef.

I enjoyed the decor; “The Other Room” sign was hung over the entrance to well, the other room. Service was very good, with the attention to  detail that could be expected of a place with such a pedigree.

After a lot of thought, we both decided to go with the Chef’s Tasting menu as shown in the pictures below. The whipped pork rind was topped with chili which added a nice pop. The butter tasted like, well, butter.

I do like fine food without the pretentiousness of fine dining. This place fits the bill. The bread was served fittingly in a paper bag.

Whipped pork rinds, cow butter

The salad course came with an interesting twist. Stilton snow. I’m not a big fan of Stilton cheese, but the snow added a hint of subtlety to tone down the flavour.

Salt baked pickled shallot and beets with stilton snow

Hen of the Woods mushrooms are a British thing. My husband told me so. They are also a Japanese thing, known as Maitake in the Land of the Rising Sun. This dish is a nod to the Japanese influence, with the tartness of the yuzu complimenting the earthiness of the mushroom.

Maitaki (Hen of the woods) mushrooms with pickled ginger and yuzu sauce

The risotto was my least preferred dish, through no fault of the chef. Each of the previous dishes had one bold flavour with a supporting cast. The main act didn’t come out in this dish, but perhaps that was the intent.

Toasted barley and watercress risotto with cured salmon

This course was by far my favourite. The potatoes were crisped in a rich, buttery skin. I could have ate them all night long. The lamb was done to a perfect medium rare. The kebabs were herby spicy and the chutney complimented the lamb sirloin nicely.

Lamb sirloin and kebabs with cucumber pickles, mint chutney and fingerling potatoes

The pine parfait was interesting. The undertones of pine flavour matched well with the richness of the chocolate.

Pine parfait with pine oil cookie crumble, chocolate wafer and cranberry coulis honey crackle wafer

I really like the bold flavours which takes a cuisine not known for boldness to another level. Hubby would love a return visit.

Poppy seed parmesan biscuit

Whitehall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato