Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

Click here for a PDF of this recipe without photos.

By now you may be doubting the authenticity of the recipes on this blog.  Last week, I posted an Irish Stew recipe that didn’t include lamb and now I’m posting a Cassoulet recipe that doesn’t include duck.  In the past, I have made this the more traditional way (using the recipe from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook) with duck confit, tarbais beans, and pork belly.  It was outstanding and I will likely make it again.  That being said, I was specifically looking for a slow-cooker recipe to make on Christmas Eve.  This was part of a perfect Christmas Eve – get the dish ready in the morning, get the kitchen clean, spend the day with the family, head to church in the evening, and come home to a delicious-smelling house and a hearty meal.

Merry Christmas to all, and to a good night.

Recipe adapted from Thomas Keller

  • 3 – 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 cans small white beans, drained
  • 4 oz bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 3 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz can peeled plum tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 – 1.5 lbs Spanish chorizo, sliced on the bias
  • 1 head garlic, halved through the equator
  • 4 Tb minced parsley
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

For this recipe, you either need a slow cooker with a stovetop-safe insert OR you need to perform the first few steps in a large pot and then transfer the ingredients to a slow cooker.  If you’re not sure, use a pot – I know someone who ruined her slow-cooker by making this mistake.  Season the pork generously with kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper.  Cook the bacon (in the slow-cooker insert or a large pot) on the stovetop over medium-high heat until crispy.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel, but leave the fat in the pot.  Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides in the bacon fat, about 7 – 9 minutes per batch. When the pork has been browned, transfer to a platter.

Add the onions plus 1 tsp of kosher salt, scraping all of the fond from the bottom of the insert or pot.

A note about browning your meat before braising or slow-cooking.  This step has nothing to do with “sealing in the juices” or anything like that; it’s all about flavor.  This step provides a deep, roasty flavor to dishes like this one.  When you’re done with the browning step, the bottom of your pot will be coated in a thick, dark fond.  As soon as you add the onions and stir them for a minute, that fond will release and combine with the onions.  That’s when the magic happens.  So please, don’t skip this step.

Cook for about 7 minutes, then add the wine and bring to a simmer.  Simmer until the wine is reduced by half – about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in tomato paste and stock.  Stir until well combined.  At this point, either scrape the mixture into the slow cooker or – if you’ve been working with a stovetop-safe insert, add to it the pork, bacon, beans, chorizo, and garlic.

Cover and cook on low for about 9 hours, until pork is fork-tender.  At that point, turn off the heat, skim off the fat, fold in the panko and parsley, and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread.


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