Slow Cooker Cassoulet

by Kristin on November 17, 2011

I originally posted this on February 15 2010, but have updated the recipe to make it easier and less time consuming.

I’ve been trying to go back to cookbooks I haven’t used in awhile, so last week I pulled The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall down off the shelf and cassoulet caught my eye. While I wound up making a different version, it ticks a lot of boxes — this one can be made in a slow cooker, it’s good value (cassoulet is a traditional French peasant dish), it’s hearty, rib-sticking food for cold nights and it makes more than enough for two meals.

If you like the idea of a cassoulet but don’t have a slow cooker or don’t have all day to let it cook, you could try Jacques Pépin’s 30-minute version or Jamie Oliver’s kinda sausage cassoulet. In his recipe, Hugh F-W suggests serving this with an orange and watercress salad.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Serves 8 to 10

If you can’t get pork shoulder, pork leg or even loin would work too — just get the butcher to remove the fat for you. If you wanted to add in some veg, a few carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal, would work well.

olive oil
3 onions, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lb (1.4 kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
1 lb (450 g) fully cooked or smoked chorizo or garlic sausage links, sliced on the diagonal
2 x 14 oz (400 g) cans of cannellini, haricot or Great Northern beans
1 x 28 oz (or 2 x 14 oz/400 g) cans whole plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
1 cup (500 ml) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc (or use stock or water if you prefer not to use alcohol)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
1 cup (100 g) breadcrumbs, plus extra to serve
a handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
crusty bread, to serve

Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add in a splash of olive oil. Add the onions and a pinch of salt to prevent the onions from browning and cook for about 10 minutes, until they’re translucent but now browned. Transfer the onions to the slow cooker, then stir in the pork, chorizo, beans, tomatoes, stock, wine, tomato paste and garlic along with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.

Set the cooker to low and cook, covered, for about 8 hours, until the pork pulls apart easily with a fork (though it could be as much as 10 hours). Skim off any fat and remove and discard the garlic. Fold in the panko or breadcrumbs and the parsley. Taste and season as needed.

Let the cassoulet stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle each serving with extra breadcrumbs and parsley and serve with warm crusty bread.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie September 29, 2010 at 9:16 pm

This looks like such a fantastic Sunday night dinner. I’m going to try to tackle it this weekend!

Kristin October 6, 2010 at 8:04 am

Hope it turned out well for you, Julie!

Arlene November 9, 2010 at 9:16 am

This recipe looks great! Anything with chorizo gets a thumbs up from me! lol! I must give this a try. Thanks Kristin!

Kristin November 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Arlene, all this talk of cassoulet has given me a craving for it – I’m going to make it again this week myself! Hope you enjoy it too.

Tammy February 27, 2011 at 3:55 am

I’ve never had cassoulet before, but I have this plan where every month, I buy something I would normally never buy and learn to cook it. I’d do it more often, but the budget doesn’t permit it…anyway, I’m looking forward to trying your cassoulet. It’s something I’ve never had before and I think my husband will love it! :)

Kristin February 27, 2011 at 9:34 am

Tammy, I love your method of trying something new every month. I hope you and your husband enjoy this! It’s a firm favorite with my family.

Jenny April 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Just made this last night — absolutely delicious! It was labor-intensive compared to standard slow cooker fare, but I enjoyed every minute of preparing it. Served with crusty French bread rolls and a nice green salad. Thank you!! (I just discovered your blog yesterday!)

Kristin April 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Jenny, so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe so much! You’re right, it is more involved than most slow cooker recipes, but it pays off in the end. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you find lots more recipes to enjoy here!

Liza November 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I was just thinking that I hadn’t used my slow-cooker yet this season. This sounds heavenly. Can’t go wrong with shredded pork and white beans in my opinion–I’ll be trying it soon! Thanks.

Kristin November 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Thanks, Liza! I’d add chorizo to that can’t-go-wrong list – it’s like bacon, it makes everything better!

Aoife Mc November 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Lovely stuff, Kristin! Cassoulets are my favourite winter dinners. So comforting!

Kristin November 29, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I had forgotten how much I liked this dish until I made it again. Completely agree with you about the comfort factor!

Gilles February 21, 2012 at 10:29 am

Can’t be calling that Cassoulet once you move out from the original receipe, there is no chorizo in it.

This reminds me of people using the term Bouillabaisse, when they make a basic fish soup with no rascasse.

BTW cassoullet is already a slow cooked meal

Regards

irene June 29, 2012 at 4:54 am

Gonna try this recipe out in my crockpot – with duck marylands (which I believe is traditionally used in the dish), a ham hock and pork sausage. In response to Gilles comment, there are several variations of this dish, some use lamb or chicken even, chorizo is fine to use even if not original, I will in fact be using it in the recipe.

Kristin June 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

I’d love to know how it turns out for you using the duck, sounds delicious!

Andy October 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm

“..pinch of salt to prevent the onions from browning..”
That’s a trick I didn’t know about! Thanks, Kristin! Throwing this together in the crockpot tonight, ready (S L O W !) tomorrow evening.*
* That’s what I love about slow-cookers, it’s almost impossible to ruin something. Although some of my friends say “It would take two of you to make a good village idiot”, I still haven’t messed up yet with the slow cooker! Winter in Finland, where I live? Elk? Bear? Karelian stew**?? A must-have!
** Search for that!

Kristin October 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Apparently it works because the salt draws the water out of the onions, which helps them to stew a bit more as they soften instead of burn.

Christine December 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Just found my way here from Kalyn’s blog. This dish sounds wonderful. I’ve finally started cooking using my crock pot but one thing that puzzles me is what size pot people used in various recipes. My first try was a turkey breast which was a total fail since it was the full breast with bones. I had to jam it into my little 4 qt. pot. Not a good thing. This week I made cross-cut beef shanks that were meltingly tender and cost only $2.48 a pound.

Kristin January 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm

You can’t go wrong with a big crock pot. Those beef shanks sound like they were made for slow cooking.

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