Saturday, November 3, 2012

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Cassoulet is slow-cooked, rustic, dish made with white beans, wine and a succulent assortment of meats such as foie gras, duck confit,  cuts of lamb, pork or poultry.  Cassoulet is a beloved dish of generations of French cooks.  I found several recipes for cassoulet at Food and Wine and Bon Appetit and adapted to my Cajun French tastes and to cook in the slow cooker to fit my schedule which has been really busy like you wouldn't believe. 

Even though this is cooked in the slow cooker, there is a bit of "prep" cooking before hand, but all of the effort is so worth the final results! 

First, I have some gratuitous bragging to do, my Bebe' , Kaitlin, made the Homecoming Court (white dress)!!! 

3-1/2 lbs. boneless pork roast.  I used a pork sirloin roast, trimmed of excess fat.
3 tablespoons Canola oil
1 cup of panko crumbs
4 ounces of smokey bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
3 cups roughly diced yellow onions
2 cups white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
1 can (35 ounce) San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
4 cans (15 ounce) Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb. Johnsonville Andouille sausage.  Quarter each sausage link on a diagonal
1 head of garlic cut in half (crosswise)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 baguette cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the pork into 8 portions and season generously with salt and pepper, reserve.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and combine 2 tablespoons of the Canola oil and the panko, stirring constantly until the panko is toasted, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and season with salt and pepper.  Once cooled, place in an air-tight container for later.

Add the remaining tablespoon of Canola oil to the Dutch oven and then add bacon and cook until crisp.  Drain on paper towels and once cooled, place in an air-tight container for use later.

Add half of the pork to the Dutch oven and brown on all sides, transfer to a platter, repeat with the remaining pork.

Cook the onions with 1 teaspoon of sea salt until beginning to turn brown and softened.  

Add the wine and simmer for about 7 to 8 minutes. 

Stir in the tomato paste.

Stir in the tomatoes.

Use a potato masher and gently smash the tomatoes up a bit.

Stir in the chicken broth and remove from the heat.  At this point, turn on your slow cooker to low to slightly heat.

Remember the rule of thumb with "crockery" slow cookers...add cold food to a cold crockpot and warm food to a warm crockpot.

Place the garlic, pork and sausage in the slow cooker.

Slowly add the contents from the Dutch oven to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.  the pork will easily pull apart.

Approximately 1 hour to 30 minutes before the done, skim off the fat, discard the garlic and add in the beans.  Thirty minutes later, stir in the panko.  The panko will seriously thicken the consistency of the dish. 

Stir in half of the parsley and adjust the seasonings.  Turn off the slow cooker and let the cassoulet stand for about thirty minutes.

Pre-heat the broiler and brush the baguette slices with olive oil.  Place the baguettes slices  under the broiler and broil until golden brown.

Spoon the cassoulet onto a plate and arrange two baguette slices, over-lapping, on top of the cassoulet.  Sprinkle with the reserved bacon, sea salt and parsley.

Laissez les bon temps rouler, ya'll!

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Chris said...

Congratulations to Kaitlin!! I love the cassoulet. I might use that for the 17 lbs of pork shoulder in my fridge.

David said...

Katherine... Looks good to me! No bell peppers! Comfort food for sure... Nice picture of your little girl. They sure grow up fast don't they? Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie

Lea Ann said...

Congratulations to Kaitlin! I just fricassee'd for the first time this fall, so I'm think I must Cassoulet. Sounds wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Your version of cassoulet cooked in a slower sounds terrific.

Big Dude said...

Kaitlin looks really great and I'm sure you're pround. This is the third version of cassoulet I've seen in a week or so - I may have to look into it.

The Japanese Redneck said...

She looks so beautiful!

Great looking meal.