Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, typically containing meat, pork skin and white haricot beans. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. For this one, we’ll be using our slow cookers.
It all simmers along, on its own, for a good part of the day, with the lentils and beans added in the last hour of cooking. Perfect for your busy schedule.
The prepping for this is minimal. The shallots need to be chopped. The garlic peeled & smashed. The bacon cooked. And the pork cubed. Not so bad, right?
The chicken broth is poured into the bowl of your slow cooker, along with the white wine and tomato paste. Once that’s combined, the garlic, shallots, and tomatoes are mixed in. Finish up with the pork, bacon, and herbs. That’s it for now.
The original recipe for this dish calls for fresh thyme sprigs. In my household, we like to add fresh rosemary sprigs to the mix …just for another layer of flavor.
When the pork is tender and pulls apart easily, the lentils are added. They’ll need about an hour before they are ready to eat. If you like your lentils super soft, just pre-soak them in boiling water for about 15 minutes before adding them to the pot. On the other hand, if you like your lentils more “al dente”, check on their progress after about 40 minutes.
Once the lentils are cooked to your liking, gently fold in the white beans and continue cooking just until they are heated through. Just a few minutes.
This is a great dish for serving on the run, especially if you have family members on varying schedules. The cassoulet can be kept warm in the slow cooker for everyone to help themselves. Just be sure to have lots of crusty bread on hand.
white bean cassoulet with pork & lentils
Based on a recipe from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchens
A rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France.
- 2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
- 2 medium shallots, chopped (or 1 medium onion, chopped)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 pounds lean pork butt, trimmed & cut into 1 1/2" pieces (about 1 1/4 pounds, after trimming)
- 4 ounces thick cut bacon, cooked crisp & cut into 1" pieces
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)
- 1/2 cup dried brown lentils
- 1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, rinsed & drained
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
In 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, whisk together chicken broth, white wine. and tomato paste. Add garlic, shallot, and tomatoes and mix to combine. Fold in pork, bacon, and fresh herbs.
Cook, covered, until pork easily pulls apart, 5 to 6 hours on the High Setting or 7 to 8 hours on the Low Setting.
About an hour before serving, discard the herb sprigs, then gently stir in the lentils. With the slow cooker set on High, cover and continue cooking until lentils are just tender, about 1 hour.
Gently fold in the white beans and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread, if desired.