Cassoulet…..maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t.
I saw a cooking show all about Cassoulet awhile back and I knew I had to try it. My first real taste of it was a few weeks ago at Buffet de la Gare where my husband and I ate to celebrate our anniversary. Their version (see menu here) was in the Toulousain style– Navy Beans, Duck Confit, Hickory Smoked Bacon, Chipolata and Garlic Sausage. It was heavenly.
Each region in France has its own version of Cassoulet. They are all typically made with the same ingredients–small white beans, duck or goose confit, smoked ham, sausages, wine, carrots, and onions.
I happened to have a craving for Cassoulet, but not feeling like spending all day in the kitchen, or buying exotic ingredients like duck confit (duck legs roasted slowly in their own fat–or YUM), I came up with an easy slow-cooker recipe that anyone could make during the week.
Who says slow cookers can only be used to make things with cream of chicken soup???
Slow Cooker Cassoulet
1/2 lb. dry Navy beans
1 smoked ham hock (or ham bone, if you have it)
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (mine were frozen, it worked fine)
1 lb, or about 4 fresh pork link sausages (whole) or 1/4″ slices Kielbasa**
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
1 bottle of good white wine (NOT cooking wine)
2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste
a few sprigs each: rosemary and thyme
1 bay leaf
some water–if needed
Salt and pepper
Pick over the navy beans and rinse them off. Put them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients.
Turn the slow cooker on to high for a few hours, stir once or twice and add a little water if needed. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 4-6 hours, or until the beans are soft and the liquid has been mostly absorbed–there should be some liquid left, if not add a little more water.
Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.