As the days grow shorter and cold air seeps through the zipper of your jacket, nothing can warm you up quite like home-cooked comfort food. Casseroles have long been a staple during the colder months, but have you ever tried the casserole’s equally delicious cousin, the cassoulet?
A classic French dish somewhere between a casserole and an extra hearty stew, you can go as fancy or simple as you want with a cassoulet depending on ingredients on hand. With autumn vegetables like butternut squash, carrots, celery, sweet onions, and kale in abundance, we’ve combined the classic cassoulet ingredients of meat and Randall Beans Great Northern white beans with these delicious and hearty veggies.
While most cassoulets are tomato-based recipes, the ingredients in this dish shine with a rich balance of herbs, garlic, and the renderings from the chicken – another break from the traditional calling for duck and pork sausage. Chicken and chicken sausage are simply extra receptive to soaking up all the yummy fall flavors inside.
Crispy, skin-on chicken really shines through in this dish, delivering wonderful crispy bites all the way through as you navigate your plate. We used some duck fat we found at our local specialty grocery store to help the chicken skin render to crispy perfection, and it turned out great! If you can’t find easily available duck fat, just substitute some high-quality lard or olive oil.
Once it is all put together, the result is a delicious, flavorful cassoulet, worth the extra time and effort! Time to kick dinnertime up a notch with a rustic cassoulet!
Rustic White Bean and Autumn Vegetable Cassoulet
- 2 2/3 cups Randall Great Northern Beans
- Half a chicken, bone-in, skin on
- One 12 oz. package of chicken sausage (we used Applegate Organic Chicken and Apple)
- 6 oz. diced pancetta
- 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 bunch of kale, stemmed and torn
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, halved and sliced
- Chicken bone broth
- 2 Tbsp. duck fat
- ½ cup dry white cooking wine
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- Olive oil
- Fresh thyme and rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash and prep all vegetables. Drain and rinse beans, stem and chop herbs, and set aside.
- Pat chicken dry and salt and pepper skin. Set aside. (Be sure to wash hands after handling raw chicken, and don’t share cutting board or knife!)
- Over medium heat, add one Tbsp duck fat to a large Dutch oven pan. When fat is hot, add pancetta, stirring often to render the fat down. Once the pancetta is crispy (10-15 minutes), use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside. Leave rendered fat in the pan and turn heat up to medium-high.
- Add chicken pieces, skin side down, and let cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes or until the skin begins to brown. Flip chicken and repeat on the other side. Remove chicken pieces from the pan and let rest on a paper towel, patting off extra drippings. Set aside, do not clean pan.
- Keeping the heat at medium-high, add whole sausages to the rendered fat and cook until browned, about 12 minutes. Remove and set on paper towel with chicken pieces. When cool, slice sausage into bite-sized pieces.
- Deglaze pan with ½ cup dry white cooking wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. After stirring for a minute or two, allowing the alcohol to burn off, add onions, celery, carrots, and butternut squash. Stir often, until mixture is slightly softened, and onions are beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
- Add 2 cups on bone broth, or just enough to cover the tops of the veggie mixture. To season, add 1 Tbsp each fresh thyme and rosemary, and 1 bay leaf. Allow mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and most liquid is absorbed.
- Remove bay leaf and transfer contents of Dutch oven pan to a food processor, pulsing until smooth. Return mixture to hot Dutch oven pan and add sausage, beans, and kale.
- Spoon mixture into a large baking or casserole dish. Arrange chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of the mixture. Sprinkle cooked pancetta over the dish.
- In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with a drizzle of olive oil, and combine. Spread breadcrumbs over the top of cassoulet, until evenly covered.
- Place cassoulet in the oven and bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, and topping is browned and bubbling.
- Sprinkle fresh thyme and rosemary over top of cassoulet to taste and let stand a few minutes before serving. Bon appétit!
Casseroles and cassoulets are perfect for any fall meal! Randall Great Northern Beans are the perfect ingredient for any fall recipe.