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.
Makes 8 generous servings