Many look down their noses at the slow cooker, but it’s perfect for some dishes. Stews, for one. This sausage, duck and white bean stew is rich and hearty, and you can leave the dish wholly unattended for five to seven hours as it cooks. Brown the meat before you put it in the pot or not. – Mark Bittman for NYTimes Cooking.
- ¾ pound Tarbais or cannellini beans although dried small white beans, like pea or navy can work
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 medium-large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes, with their juice (canned are fine)
- 3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ pound slab bacon or salt pork, cut into 1 inch squares
- 4 saucisse de Toulouse or a French garlic sausage or Italian sausages
- 1 pound boneless pork shoulder (we tend to leave this out)
- 1 pound (4 medium) duck confit legs
- Chicken, beef or vegetable stock, or water, or a mixture, as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs, optional
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Sauté the duck confit until golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes crisping the skin lightly. Then remove the duck but leave the duck fat in the pan. Add the sausages and sauté until well brown.
- Add 1 cup of stock to the pan in order to deglaze the pan.
- Combine beans, crushed garlic, onion, carrots, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, bacon and sausages in a slow cooker, and turn heat to high.
- Add stock, including the stock used to deglaze the pan or water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and cook until beans and meats are tender, 5 to 6 hours on high heat, 7 hours or more on low.
- When done, add salt and pepper to taste, along with minced garlic. Remove the cassoulet from the slow cooker, and place in a deep casserole. Cover with bread crumbs and parsley and roast at 400 degrees until bread crumbs brown, about 15 minutes.
- While the cassoulet is heating, finish off sautéing the duck confit. You want to make sure the confit is heated through and nicely crisped.
- Garnish and serve.
- The above recipe is an amalgamation of several cassoulet recipes, including the Mark Bittman “Slow Cooker Cassoulet” and the “Instant Pot Cassoulet” from Tasting Tables, as adjusted by Jo Ann and me. We have made the traditional recipe which can take several days and have found that this recipe provides the best alternative as it relates to the amount of time it takes to prepare. It is well worth your giving it a try.
- For an instant pot version of cassoulet click here.