Hearty Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

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I recently got a slow cooker, which may be not only the best cooking invention, but also my new favorite kitchen toy! While I have an arsenal of slow cooker recipes to start playing with (thank you Teya!), being the adventurous foodie I am, I decided my inaugural slow cooker recipe would be none other than the French dish, Cassoluet. We’re just continuing on my mini-French cuisine kick  really (which as much as I am loving it, I have made some Spanish dishes of late as well so it will be short-lived).

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Cassoulet, which takes its name from the French “cassole” in which it is made, is thought to originate from the Languedoc region in the South West of France. Fun fact: the only crash course I did at Wine Riot a couple weeks ago (before drinking too much to learn any information) was one on Red Wines of this region. I had never heard about it before et voila now its popping up everywhere!

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Hearty Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

At its most basic, cassoulet is a fancier pork and beans dish. I love that this dish can be both ultra fancy — using pancetta or duck confit to elevate it — or less intimidating — using pork shoulder, bacon and chorizo as in this recipe — depending on what mood you’re in. Both versions would be amazing! Apparently it’s not uncommon to find cassoulet dishes with partridge or mutton and it’s even sold in cans at convenience stores (similar to Campbell’s pork and beans).

I halved the original recipe — let’s be honest I am only one person and the slow cooker ain’t all that big! In retrospect after eating this stew, I should have used the orignal proportions and frozen some of it. This cassoluet is amazing! It’s hearty and rich with great meaty flavor.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Hearty Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

While this recipe has a bit more hands on time than most slow cooker recipes, the majority of the cooking time is spent with that thing just bubbling away in the pot. I could get used to this! The idea of putting a bunch of ingredients in the slow cooker, going to work, and then 8-9 hours later dinner is ready when I walk in the door, my life is changed! It’s magic!

Thomas Keller’s Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

Adapted from Williams Sonoma

2 lbs pork shoulder

1 tbsp canola oil

½ cup panko, toasted

2 oz. bacon

2 cups yellow onions

1 cup dry white white

4 tbsp tomato paste

½ can plum tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

3 cans northern and or navy beans

3 fully cooked chorizo

½ garlic head

Season the pork generously with kosher salt and pepper; set aside.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Hearty Slow-Cooker CassouletCook the bacon in a dutch oven over medium high heat until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon fat in the dutch oven.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Hearty Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

Add the pork to the pan and brown on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Hearty Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

Add the onions and pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and broth. Remove from the heat and add the beans, pork, chorizo and garlic.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Hearty Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

Transfer to the slow-cooker insert and place the insert into the slow-cooker base.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Hearty Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

Cover and cook on low until the pork pulls apart easily with a fork, 6 to 8 hours. Skim off the fat, and remove and discard the garlic. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Fold in the panko or sprinkle on top and broil until golden brown.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Hearty Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

Let the cassoulet stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

Thomas Keller's Slow-Cooker Cassoulet
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ cup panko, toasted
  • 2 oz. bacon
  • 2 cups yellow onions
  • 1 cup dry white white
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ can plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cans northern and or navy beans
  • 3 fully cooked chorizo
  • ½ garlic head
Instructions
  1. Season the pork generously with kosher salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in a dutch oven over medium high heat until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon fat in the dutch oven.
  3. Add the pork to the pan and brown on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
  4. Add the onions and pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and broth. Remove from the heat and add the beans, pork, chorizo and garlic.Transfer to the slow-cooker insert and place the insert into the slow-cooker base.
  5. Cover and cook on low until the pork pulls apart easily with a fork, 6 to 8 hours. Skim off the fat, and remove and discard the garlic. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Fold in the panko or sprinkle on top and broil until golden brown.
  6. Let the cassoulet stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
 

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