If you’re looking for a hearty casserole that will keep you full for days, look no further than this cassoulet, adapted from Jacques Pepin. Hearty and warming, this dish is like the culinary equivalent of a snuggie, fresh from the dryer. If you like, you can use 2 cups of packaged chicken broth instead of making your own. Just omit the 1/2 chicken and 4 cups of warm water, skip step one, and then sautee two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts and shred before adding to the casserole in step 6.
Prep Time 3hours
Cook Time 1hour
Total Time 4hours
Author Stephanie Stiavetti
1/2wholechickencut into 4 pieces
4cupsof warm water
1pounddried Great Northernnavy, or Flageolet beans, picked over and rinsed
1wholeleekwashed, trimmed, and split in half
1wholeonionpeeled and stuck with a clove
1largecarrotsplit length-wise and cut into four pieces
1largetomatopeeled, halved, seeded and chopped
One1/2 pound pieceof pancetta
1largegarlic sausage or kielbasapricked with a fork
1large (about 2 pounds)thick bone-in pork chop
1teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
2thick slicesof stale French breadturned to crumbs in a food processor (feel free to use Gluten-Free bread, which works beautifully here)
Add chicken and warm water to a pot, and slowly bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and barely simmer, uncovered, for 1-2 hours. Remove chicken from broth and set both aside to cool. Once the chicken has cooled, shred the meat with your hands and discard bones.
In a large pot, add beans, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, leek, onion, carrot, tomato, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, pancetta, and cold water. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock you prepared in step one. Bring beans slowly to a boil, skimming off any froth that comes to the top. Once the beans are boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add sausage and cook for another 15 minutes.
While the beans are cooking: Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Season the pork on both sides with salt and pepper and set on a baking sheet. Roast for 50 minutes, then remove from heat and pour fat into a cup to reserve. Use a 1/4 cup of the bean cooking liquid to heat and deglaze the roasting pan, adding the liquid to the beans. Allow the pork to cool and cut into 1-inch pieces. Discard the bone and set meat aside.
Once the beans are cooked – they should be tender but not mushy – turn off the heat and remove the sausage, pancetta, onion, carrot, leek, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley to a baking sheet. Discard vegetables and herbs.
Remove the casing from the sausage and cut the sausage into 3/4 inch slices. Slice the pancetta into strips that are 1/2 inch by 3 inches long.
If you turned off the oven, preheat it to 350°F (176°C) again. In a medium-sized casserole dish, layer the various ingredients into the casserole dish, starting with the beans followed by alternating layers of meat and beans – make an individual layer of each meat: pork, sausage, pancetta, and shredded chicken, and ending with more beans. Moisten the bread crumbs in the reserved fat and spread them over the entire surface of the beans.
Bake for 20 minutes, until a crust forms on top of the casserole. Break the crust with a spoon and push it into the beans, giving them a nice, nutty flavor. Cook for another 30 minutes. Another crust will form on top of the beans. Let the cassoulet rest 20-30 minutes outside of the oven before serving. Serve straight from the casserole dish, making sure everyone gets a good assortment of meats.