Slow Cooker Cassoulet
- 1 pound dried medium-sized white beans, rinsed and picked over
- 2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 1-inch chunks
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 ounces kielbasa sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
- 2 onions, chopped fine
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), excess fat trimmed
- 2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Bring beans and 8 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until just beginning to soften, about 20 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to slow cooker.
2. Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook pork until well browned, about 10 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Brown kielbasa in empty pan, about 5 minutes; using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel-lined plate and reserve in refrigerator. Add onions to fat in pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, brandy, and tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon. Bring broth mixture to boil, then transfer to slow cooker.
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and wrap in foil according to photo 1 at right. Place foil packet atop stew in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until pork and chicken are tender, 6 to 7 hours.
4. Remove foil packet from slow cooker and transfer to plate. When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull meat from bones in large chunks, discarding skin, bones, and excess fat. Transfer 1 cup beans from slow cooker to bowl and mash until smooth. Stir mashed beans, chicken meat, and reserved kielbasa into slow cooker. Cook, covered, until heated through, about 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, pulse bread, butter, and ¼ teaspoon salt in food processor until coarsely ground. Toast crumbs in large skillet over medium-high heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Season cassoulet with salt and pepper. Serve, passing bread crumbs at table.
Make Ahead: The finished cassoulet can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days. When ready to serve, bring cassoulet to simmer over medium heat, thinning broth with water as necessary. The crispy bread crumbs can be stored in an airtight container for 1 day.