Cassoulet is a classic French dish that, made in the traditional way, can take five days to make. This recipe uses some smart shortcuts to cut the time down to just two days, with very little hands-on time thanks to the use of a slow cooker. It’s best served on a cold night with plenty of toasted bread to soak up all the delicious flavor.
- 3 sweet Italian sausages, about 3/4 pound
- 1 pound pork belly (see note)
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes, with their juice (see note)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 pound salt pork, in 1 piece (see note)
- 32 ounces of chicken stock
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans
For the Toasted Bread
- 1 loaf (12-inch) French bread, sliced into 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the chicken drumsticks, pork belly, and sausages until well browned on all sides. Once browned place them in the slow cooker.
- Add the salt pork to the slow cooker in one piece. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Pour the chopped tomatoes over the top. Next add the chicken stock. If the liquid is not covering the meat, add some water.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the meat is tender.
- Carefully remove the meat from the slow cooker and place in a baking dish. Pour the liquid into a seperate large baking dish. Add the beans to the liquid, cover the dish and place in the refrigerator to chill. Cover the dish with the meat and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dish with the meat from the fridge and shred the meat discarding the skin, extra fat, and bones. Cut the salt pork into small pieces and add it, along with the shredded meat, to the dish with the liquid and beans.
- Cover the beans and meat with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until bubbly. Remove from the oven and keep it covered while you make the toasted bread.
- Turn the oven to broil. Lightly brush the bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle some of the chopped herbs over the top. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast them for a few minutes under the broiler.
- Serve the cassoulet with a slice of toasted bread on top.
Depending on what’s available at your grocery store you may or may not find pork belly. Try using the same amount of pork shoulder if it’s available.
If tomatoes are in season use fresh ones, but be sure to core them first. I used boxed chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand).
Salt pork is usually located in one of two places in the stores I shop at – either near the pork in the meat section or near the bacon. If you can’t find it, substitute the same amount of pancetta or bacon, but understand that it will change the flavor a bit.
Recipe inspired by The New York Times
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: French
- Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
- Calories: 824
- Sugar: 7.4g
- Sodium: 1395.2mg
- Fat: 52.8g
- Saturated Fat: 18g
- Unsaturated Fat: 31.2g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 50g
- Fiber: 6.4g
- Protein: 37.1g
- Cholesterol: 123.8mg
Keywords: slow cooker cassoulet, easy cassoulet recipe