A traditional French Cassoulet is typically a 2-day cooking affair, containing meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin and white beans. This simplified pork cassoulet dish comes together in a few hours, but don’t skimp on the fresh thyme, it adds the decidedly French flavor to this hearty dish.
- 2 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into large chunks, approx. 2 inches
- 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 whole clove
- 2 whole sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
- 5-6 slices thick cut double smoked bacon, cut into ½ -inch pieces
- ¼ ring smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 large stalk celery, chopped
- 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 litre of Chicken Broth
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 (14-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup coarse bread crumbs (you can use fresh or panko)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place the pork butt chunks in a heavy pot with half the onion, half the minced garlic, and the thyme sprigs.
- Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 1 -1 ½ hours.
- Remove the pork; set aside, discard thyme sprigs. Turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees.
- In the same pot, over medium heat, brown the bacon.
- Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat and add the celery, carrot, salt, pepper, thyme leaves, farmer sausage and the remaining onion and garlic (minced and whole) and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the broth, wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, and beans. Bring to a simmer, then add the cooked meat back into the pot.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the olive oil, bread crumbs, and parsley.
- Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the cassoulet and bake for 1 ½ hours, uncovered, occasionally pressing the bread crumbs into the cassoulet to thicken it.
- Let cool and serve.
Like most slow simmered meals, it tastes better the second day, and absolutely begs for a crusty baguette to soak up all those tasty juices. Add a green salad sprinkled with jewel colored dried cranberries, and you have a hearty winter comfort food meal fit for company.
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