Cassoulet with Chicken, Pork and Sausage

This dish is screaming good!  The flavors are so deep, delicious and rich.  It is a one dish meal you should definitely make for your next large gathering!

This does make enough for about 20 healthy servings.  Just halve all of the ingredients to bring it down to a more reasonable amount of servings.

I served this for our Christmas Eve dinner, but it would be great for any large gathering.  How about Superbowl Sunday?  I say yes!

Don’t get scared with the long list of ingredients.  There is a lot of chopping.  I prepared and chopped all my vegetables and meat the day before I started so everything came together very easily.

Yep, I did this all one day in advance and kept them fresh in a zip lock bag.  Be sure that you cut your veggies evenly….it just looks prettier that way : )

Here is the secret to giving this dish lots of flavor.  Use the EverGood Hot Link Sausages.  I found them at Costco.  They are tasty in the morning, too.  Just sayin’.

Use about 1 1/2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken thighs.  Yummy.

Of course everything is better with bacon.  I thought that using the bacon grease would give the dish such a nice flavor, and I was right. 

You can use the bacon bits to mix into your breadcrumb topping.  I just at them as I was cooking.

Last but not least I used a pork tenderloin.  The meat came out so tender.

Cut all the meat into bite-sized pieces.  I also prepped this a day in advance as well.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven fry up the bacon pieces.  Once browned removed bacon from pan and set aside.  Pour all the grease into a small bowl. We are going to use that later. Keep about 2 tablespoons of the grease in the bottom of the pan

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and brown the chicken.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Season the pork tenderloin pieces with salt and pepper, add a little more bacon grease to the pan and brown all sides of the pork.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Mince your garlic and add about 2 tablespoons of butter to the renderings of the pan.  Saute the garlic for about 1 minute on medium heat.

Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pan.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Saute on medium for about 10 minutes.

Drain the can of tomatoes.

To the vegetable mixture add the tomato paste….

Then add the white wine, chicken broth, drained diced tomatoes and the seasonings.

Add the browned chicken and pork pieces back into the stock pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and let it go for 40 minutes.

Here is where I stopped.  I allowed it to cool and I popped it into the refrigerator until the next day when I was ready to put it all together.  The next day when you are ready, bring it to a light boil and proceed with the other steps.

Prepare the bread crumb topping.  I can’t really remember how much I used, so I am just guessing at the amounts here.  You want enough Panko bread crumbs to generously top the cassoulet.

To the Panko bread crumbs add the melted butter and the fresh Parmesan cheese.  The bread crumbs should be nice and moist, but not wet.  You may have to add a little more butter to the mix.  Set aside until you are ready to use.

I browned the sausage.  It probably isn’t a necessary step but I just wanted to give the sausage a little color.

Then in a 12″ skillet melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and saute the chopped mushrooms until soft and all of the moisture is gone.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Add the mixture from the stockpot into a large baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes then add in your beans (that you have drained and rinsed), the sausage and sauteed mushrooms.

Back into the oven it goes for another 30 minutes.  Uncovered.  However, if it the pieces sticking up start to burn, cover with foil.

Now sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly on top of the cassoulet.

Put back into oven for an additional 15 minutes or until the bread crumbs turn a nice golden brown.  Oh man, it smells soooooo good.

Remove from oven and allow the cassoulet to sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with some nice crusty French bread and a simple green salad.  I can’t wait until you try it!!

Cassoulet with Pork, Chicken and Sausage
Serves 20
From the Kitchen of Valerie Patterson, Innkeeper of Hidden Oaks Inn, Sonoma, CA

12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 pounds of boneless country-style pork ribs or pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 links of Evergood Hot Links, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 links of Evergood Kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 slices bacon, fried and reserve the grease (save bacon for another use)
1 sweet onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, diced
4 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
3 cans (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes, flavored with basil, oregano and garlic, drained
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cloves
4 or 5 cans (15.5-ounce) cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted

Dry the chicken with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until smoking.  Brown the chicken in bottom of pan, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate, set aside.

Pat the pork dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.  Add a few more tablespoons of the bacon grease in bottom of the Dutch oven.   Brown pork, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to plate and set aside.

In bottom of the Dutch oven melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease until hot.  Add the celery, onion and carrots.  Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in the broth, wine, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and cloves, stirring well.  Return the chicken thighs and pork with any accumulated juices to the pot and submerge them in the liquid.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, COVER, and cook for 40 minutes.  (You can make the cassoulet at this point one day in advance.  Refrigerate.  When you are ready to continue, heat the mixture up and continue with the steps below).

In a large pan (and I am talking large, like about 15 1/2 x 12-inch roasting pan) add the mixture.  Cover with foil.  Place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes.  While this is baking saute your mushrooms in a little bit of butter, and season with salt and pepper, set aside.  In a large skillet lightly brown the sausage and drain on paper towels to get rid of all the excess oil.  Add the beans and sausage to the mixture, then put back into oven and bake an additional 30 minutes.  Keep your eye on the cassoulet, the meat that is poking up out of the liquids may burn, so you might have to cover center with foil.  While it is baking for the second time mix together the panko crumbs, the Parmesan cheese and melted butter together until mixed well.  When it is done baking evenly sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.  Put back into oven for an additional 15 minutes or until the bread crumbs turn a nice golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.  Serve.  Makes approximately 20 servings.

Pair with some crusty French bread and a green salad.


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