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Cassoulet

Cassoulet from Karista's Kitchen // A slow cooked French stew

Classic Cassoulet is a hearty slow-cooked dish originating in the south of France.  It’s often referred to as the “unofficial” national dish of France.

Traditionally, cassoulet includes what my Grandmother would refer to as “everything except the kitchen sink”.  Meaning that almost any meat, poultry, skin, gizzards, beans and whatever was available went into this succulent dish.

I’ve had a few truly authentic and amazing cassoulet’s in the past. All filled with decadent duck confit, pork skin, pork belly, mutton, sausages, fava beans and white beans. A meal so rich and lush, it’s everything you’d expect from a slow cooked French dish.

My cassoulet however is slightly less time-consuming, and not to worry, it doesn’t contain duck confit, mutton or pork belly. Although those ingredients are delicious in a cassoulet, I wanted to create this recipe to be simple, yet flavorful.

I also wanted this slow cooked stew to reflect the bounty of the Willamette Valley here in Oregon.  We’re so lucky to have an abundance of small farms and ranches nearby that raise grass-fed and pastured pigs, cattle and chickens. Not to mention all the gorgeous produce and fresh herbs.

I’ve included locally raised meat and poultry (chicken thighs, pork shoulder, sausages), white beans and lots of fresh herbs and aromatics.  You could also substitute with beef chuck roast, lamb or pork belly – and any type of sausages that you love.

This meal is perfect a la carte with a glass of French Burgundy or a Oregon Pinot Noir. It’s also quite lovely paired with a Salad Lyonnaise or Ratatouille, which I’ll get around to posting soon.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Cassoulet

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch or all-purpose flour
  • 2lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 2-3 pork or beef sausages (I used my favorite German pork sausages)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 3-inch sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried herbs de Provence
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2-4 cups chicken broth, enough to just cover the meat
  • 2-3 15ounce cans white beans, drained (cannellini beans work best)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, heat about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and then add them to the pot and brown on both sides. Transfer to a bowl or platter.
  • Next season the pork cubes with salt and pepper and then toss with the tablespoon of corn starch or flour. Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pot and brown the pork. You may need to brown the pork in batches, otherwise the pork won’t brown if the pot is over crowded. When the pork is browned, transfer to the bowl or platter with the chicken.
  • Next brown the sausages, adding additional oil if needed. Once the sausages are brown, transfer them to the bowl or platter with the chicken and pork.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and then stir in the onions. Saute the onions until wilted and fragrant and then add the garlic and cook for one minute longer.
  • Stir in the ½ cup of white wine, scraping up all the brown bits at the bottom. Add the fresh thyme sprigs and dried herbs. Place the chicken thighs, pork cubes and sausages back into the pot and then add the chicken broth. Enough to cover the meat.
  • Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let the meat simmer in the broth and veggies for about 30-45 minutes, or until the pork is tender.
  • Remove the lid and then stir in the beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. The longer this stew sits the more flavor it will develop. I like to make this the day before I’m serving it, however, if I make it the same day I’m going to serve it, I’ll make it several hours prior and then let it sit for about 30 minutes on the stove top before serving. If you feel the flavors need a little boost, sometimes a teaspoon of white wine vinegar will bring all the flavors together.
  • Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh chopped Italian parsley and a basket of crusty French bread.
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