The first time I was introduced to Cassoulet (prounounced “cass-ooh-lay”), I was warned (by the description on the menu, no less) that it was an incredibly rich and hearty dish and only served in the winter months. So seeing it was winter and I needed something rich and hearty, GAME ON.
The moment it was placed in front of me, I understood why this was only served in the winter. It truly is THE richest and most indulgent stew I’ve ever had and it will fill you up and prepare you for days of snow shoveling ahead. A classic French dish, think of a Cassoulet as a bean stew chuck full of duck, chicken and pork with a smokey flavor to it. And then, it’s sometimes finished off with a breadcrumb crust! It’s almost something reminiscent of something you’d eat down South.
Here’s How I Made It!:
Begin by taking some shallots…
…and dicing ’em up.
Now take a smoked sausage of your choice…
…and slice it up into discs about 1/4″ thick.
Now go to the pot and add in some olive oil…
…and butter. Give it some heat.
Once the butter’s melted…
…add in duck legs confit and give it a quick sear on each side.
Once it has a nice sear, remove to a plate.
Now, add in some chicken thighs…
…and do the same.
After you’ve quickly seared the duck and chicken, rest on a plate.
Return to the pot and you’ll see the butter will have likely browned by now. Nice!
Add in some pancetta (this is optional but provides a lovely bacon-like flavor)…
…as well as the shallots.
Allow the pancetta and shallots to sauté in the butter and oil for a few minutes…
…and then add in some garlic and stir for another minute.
Now add in the sausage and allow it to sear for a few minutes.
Now if you want to REALLY give this a smokey flavor, add in some ham hocks.
Place them in the pot…
…along with some halved garlic cloves.
Add the poultry back to the pot.
Now, add some tomato paste…
…and schmear (Yiddish for “spread”) it over the poultry.
Pour in some chicken and/or ham broth…
…and add some dried Great Northern Beans.
Make sure the beans are fully submerged in the broth.
NOTE: You can also use canned beans but see the instructions below as it’s a huge difference in cook time if you use dried vs. canned.
Now spice it up with some dried thyme…
…and bay leaves.
Give it a final, gentle stir, secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
As the Cassoulet’s cooking, let’s make the crust! Take some panko breadcrumbs…
…and olive oil.
Mix together well and then set aside.
When the Cassoulet’s done, remove the bay leaves and ham hocks (if used)…
…and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top.
If you did this in the Ninja Foodi, you can do this directly on top as well can broil right in the same pot! If you did this in an instant pot and want the crust, transfer to a casserole dish, sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and broil for a few moments.
When done, it’s going to be a glorious golden brown.
Transfer to a serving dish…
…making sure to get plenty of that poultry, pork and beans in there!
Show off this incredibly hearty masterpiece.
…and enjoy. Cassoulet: the richest, comforting stew of all time!
At the time of this post, Pressure Luck exclusively uses Better Than Bouillon/Southeastern Mills for all soup bases and bouillon
- 1 lb of dried Cannellini or Great Northern Beans, rinsed OR 2 15.5 oz cans of Cannellini or Great Northern Beans (see instructions on cooking time as dried vs. canned will greatly vary the time)
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 stick of salted butter
- 2 shallots
- 2 tbsp of crushed garlic
- 8-10 oz pancetta (optional)
- 1 lb of duck legs confit (I used pre-cooked but you can use raw as well)
- 1 lb of chicken thighs (either skin-on/off or bones in or out are fine – you can also do 2 lbs of chicken thighs if you can’t find the duck legs confit)
- 1 lb of a pre-cooked smoked sausage of your choice, cut into 1/4” discs (you can double this is you want a lot of sausage)
- 2 ham hocks (optional, this could really intensify the smokiness of the flavor – so you can just use one instead of two or none at all)
- 2 tbsp of tomato paste
- 5 cloves of garlic, halved
- 5 cups of chicken and/or ham broth (you can use 2.5 cups of each broth; I used 2.5 tsp of Chicken Better Than Bouillon + 2.5 cups of water and 2.5 tsp of Ham Better Than Bouillon + 2.5 cups of water but you can use 5 cups of only one flavor if desired. If using canned beans instead of dried, only use 3 cups of broth as the dried beans absorb the broth as they cook and the canned beans are already cooked)
- 1/2 tbsp of dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp of dried parsley
- 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Add the olive oil and butter to the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot. Hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting
- Once melted and sizzling, add in the duck and/or chicken and sear on all sides for about 1-2 minutes in each side. Remove with tongs to a plate when done
- Next, add the pancetta (if using) and shallots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and stir in for about 45 seconds
- Then, add the sausage and allowing it to brown for about 3-5 minutes more
- Place the ham hocks (if using) and garlic cloves into the pot and then top with the chicken and duck. Add the tomato paste and spread over the poultry
- Pour in the broth followed by the beans. Then add in the thyme, nutmeg and bay leaves. Stir so all the beans are totally submerged in the broth
- If using dried beans, hit “Pressure Cook” or “ Manual” for 70 minutes at high pressure. When done, allow a 20 minute natural release followed by a quick release (suggested). If you want a quicker fix by using canned beans, go for 20 minutes at high pressure and just do a quick release. The meat will have cooked just as good regardless of which time setting but will be even more moist if you go the longer route by using dried beans
- Just before the Cassoulet is done releasing, mix the panko breadcrumbs with the dried parsley, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Set aside
- If using a Ninja Foodi, simply sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the Cassoulet in the pot, lower the TenderCrisp lid and hit “Broil” for 4 minutes (monitor it after 3 minutes and see if it’s how you want it. If you want it browner/darker, go longer but keep an eye on it). If using an Instant Pot, pre-heat the oven to 450, transfer the Cassoulet to a casserole dish and then top the breadcrumbs over it. Bake for 5-10 minutes until you reach the desired crust (just keep an eye on it as all ovens vary)
- Enjoy with some French bread!
I definitely suggest using dried beans for this if possible. True, it saves a lot of time to use the canned beans, but the dried beans absorb the broth unlike the canned beans which are already cooked, making for the best consistency of the Cassoulet. Also, a traditional Cassoulet can take days to make, and this will be done in under 2 hours.
This dish is definitely one of the most hearty and intense you’ll have – in a great way. That said, be mindful of the smokiness flavor factor. If you want it a bit more mild, only add one ham hock or eliminate them completely as they provide a very salty/hammy flavor. You may also eliminate the pancetta, but I enjoy that in there and suggest sacrificing the ham hocks over the pancetta for a more mild flavor.