Cassoulet is a classic French casserole that originated in the province of Languedoc. Traditionally it consists of white beans, sausages, duck or goose confit, and pork or mutton. Slow-cooked with garlic, white wine, tomatoes, and bay leaves, our recipe combines chicken legs, cubed pork, and Italian pork sausage to create a simplified, yet delicious version of this classic French dish.
- 2 cups dried Great Northern beans
- 1/4 lb thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 4 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 lb pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 mild Italian pork sausages, halved
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-3/4 cups diced tomatoes, undrained (15-ounce can)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
For the crumb topping:
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- Place the beans in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover by about one inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, let stand for 4 hours, drain and place in a large bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Fry the bacon in a large, heavy skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and, working in batches, brown the pieces over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a large platter and set aside.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper, add to the pan and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to the platter with the chicken. Last, brown the sausages and transfer to the platter with the chicken and pork.
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and carrots. Saute until the onion is lightly caramelized and the carrots are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme leaves and bacon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the entire mixture to the beans and combine well.
- Spoon half of the bean mixture into a large, greased casserole dish. Arrange the chicken, pork and sausages on top and place a bay leaf in the center. Top with the remaining beans and another bay leaf.
- Whisk the wine, chicken broth and tomato paste together in a small bowl. Pour evenly over the casserole, cover tightly and bake for 3 hours.
- Combine bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and melted butter in a small bowl. Uncover the cassoulet and spread the crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven, raise the temperature to 425°, and bake until the crumbs are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.