Slow Cooker Cassoulet from Michelle Scicolone’s The French Slow Cooker
An estimated 80 percent of American households now own a slow cooker, and that number continues to grow. Once viewed as a kitchen appliance only for the novice and the lazy cook, the slow cooker has undergone a transformation and is now widely appreciated as a way to make fabulous meals even if on a budget or pressed for time.
Veteran cookbook author Michele Scicolone, author of The Italian Slow Cooker, returns with The French Slow Cooker. A food and wine expert who’s written for many magazines, Scicolone has traveled extensively to nearly every region of France, mastering the nation’s full range of traditional dishes. In her new cookbook, Michelle adapts these classic recipes for the slow cooker.
Michelle shared this Cassoulet recipe from the book. She says “Garlicky pork sausage, lamb, beans, and duck confit simmered together in an aromatic broth are the makings of the soul-warming stew known as cassoulet. A full-fledged cassoulet is magnificent, but the traditional version takes several days of cooking to complete.
Today I make it this easy way. If I don’t have my own homemade duck confit, I use store-bought, which is readily available, or even fresh chicken thighs.”
Soak the beans in water to cover by several inches for 4 hours or overnight or quick-soak them (see page 16). Drain the beans and place them in a large slow cooker. Add the carrots, garlic, and bay leaf.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until golden. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until tender. Stir in the tomato paste and 1 cup of the broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Arrange the lamb, kielbasa, and duck legs on top of the beans in the slow cooker. Add the contents of the skillet, the remaining 3 cups broth, the salt, and pepper to taste.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the beans and meat are very tender.
Place the panko in a small skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
With a spoon, skim off the fat from the cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in enough of the panko to thicken the cooking liquid. Scatter the croutons on top and serve hot.
1 pound dried navy beans, pea beans, or other small white beans, rinsed and picked over
2 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
4 ounces bacon or pancetta, cut into ½-inch strips
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups Classic French Beef Broth (page 41) or store-bought beef broth
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound kielbasa or other garlic sausage, cut into serving pieces
2 legs Duck Confit (page 72) or 4 bone-in chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
About 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or plain dry bread crumbs
3 cups Croutons (page 216)
to you by Amy Tobin
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