In almost every situation — be it a movie, a quick coffee, or a party — I don’t like to exclude anyone who might want to join in.
So, if you’re a meat eater, I certainly hope you didn’t think for a moment that I’d leave you out of our cassoulet indulgence!
Sure, the Vegetarian Cassoulet Recipe we made yesterday was incredible (there I go tooting my own horn again – sometimes I just can’t help myself), but for my friends out there who enjoy anything reminiscent of bacon, this one’s for you, and it, too, is amazing!
Of course, I have no idea what your weekend plans are, but I hope they involve cannelloni beans!
- ½ pound pancetta, cut into (approximately) ¼-inch dice
- 5 spicy Italian sausages, cut into about ½-inch slices
- 5 chicken legs, skin removed
- 2-1/2 cups thinly sliced brown onion
- 2 tablespoons roasted garlic
- 2-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1-1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1-1/4 cups roughly chopped pitted, green olives (I love Castelvetrano Olives)
- 1-1/4 cup roughly chopped, peeled canned tomatoes
- 1-1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2-1/2 cups chicken stock
- 4-1/4 cups cooked cannellini beans
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh rosemary
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Add the pancetta to a large stockpot or Dutch oven and put it on the stove over low heat. Render the pancetta for about 10 minutes. (Rendering the pancetta slowly melts it, releasing all the fat and making the meat crisp.)
- Turn the heat up to medium-low and add the sausage to the pot. Cook until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Then, moving the pancetta and bacon around the pot to make a bit of space, add the chicken legs and sear them in the pancetta and sausage fat and juices. Once they are becoming brown on all sides, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook until the meat is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove all of the meat from the pot and add it to a large plate, leaving behind the fat.
- Over medium-high heat, add the onions. Stirring every few minutes or so, cook the onions until they are very tender and are beginning to become brown, about 15 minutes. Add the roasted garlic and stir to blend.
- While the onions are cooking, remove the chicken meat from the bones and break it into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the thyme and paprika to the pot and cook for a couple minutes, until it’s very aromatic.
- Add the olives, return all of the meat to the pot, and stir to combine. Then deglaze the pot with the tomatoes, wine and stock. Use a flat-bottomed wooden spatula to scrape any stuck bits of food from the bottom of the pot, back into the mixture.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer to reduce the liquid by one third. This should take about 30 minutes.
- Fold in the cooked cannellini beans and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Pour the mixture into a baking dish (approximately 9 X 13 X 2-1/2-inch baking dish‚ something like Emile Henry stoneware is perfect.)
- Add the rosemary to the breadcrumbs and sprinkle the mixture evenly on top of the cassoulet. Drizzle the entire thing with olive oil and then bake, covered, in the preheated oven, covered with foil for 2 hours. Then uncover and place under the broiler to brown the top, about 1 minute.
- Let it rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Yes, you can buy cooked cannellini beans, but making them is fantastic (and more delicious)!
Gluten-free? Easy — use gluten-free bread crumbs! I make mine with the ends of our gluten-free bread. (Toast in the oven, let it cool, then use a food processor to blend.)
Up to 4 days and at least 1 day ahead: Cook the beans.
Up to 1 week and at least 1 day ahead: Roast the garlic.
4 hours ahead: Begin prepping and cooking the ingredients for the cassoulet.
2-1/2 hours ahead: Bake the cassoulet!‚
This entire dish can be made 1 day ahead. (Once it comes to room temperature, cover it tightly and keep it refrigerated. To get ready to serve, bring it back to room temperature, and then reheat it in a 300 degree F oven until it’s hot all the way through, about 20 minutes.)