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Poor Man's Cassoulet

graphic From "The Campagna Table" (William Morrow)
By Mark Stausman

8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups dried white beans, such as flageolet, borlotti, cannellini, navy, or Great Northern
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 pounds pork butt, in one piece
  • 1/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 2-inch by 1-inch chunks
  • 4 fresh sweet Italian sausages
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 piece rind from Parmesan cheese, about 2 inches square
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Swiss, or Gruyere cheese
Method:

In a large bowl, cover the beans with at least 3 quarts of cold water. Soak 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 8 hours or so. Drain, rinse, and drain again.

In a large soup pot, heat cup of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the pork butt, bacon, and sausages, and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add the beans and cook 2 minutes, stirring to coat. Add the stock, Parmesan rind, and rosemary, cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 1 hours, until the beans are melting into the cassoulet. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the cassoulet to a baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the grated cheese. Bake about 10 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty.


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