What’s a cassoulet?
Cassoulet is just a fancy French word for casserole. However, this is not your neighborhood weird casserole made from condensed soup and God knows what else. No, this is a FRENCH casserole with meat and white beans slowly cooked together in a, you guessed it, casserole dish which is a traditional deep earthenware pot meant to hold in heat and perfect for slow cooking.
Once more for dinner!
When out treating myself to a fancy lunch, my husband and I ordered a side of chorizo cassoulet with roast pork for my daughter. This was the best option as the nice restaurant we dined at did not have a children’s menu and we knew she wouldn’t turn her nose up to slow-roasted pork or tasty beans. And guess what? She didn’t and neither did we because we soon found ourselves stealing bites from her plate.
Small bites here and there simply weren’t enough. As it is with something divine, one always wants more. Determined to recreate this cassoulet dish at home, we went shopping for the ingredients to make it for dinner. Later that night, we feasted on my very own version of chorizo cassoulet with crispy pork belly. Was it the same as what we tried in the restaurant? No, but it is a delicious version of it.
Slow roasted pork that is tender on the inside and with a crispy crackling top served with a bean stew spiced with the flavors of chorizo. It warms my soul just to think about it. Add a little wild rocket and shavings of Parmesan cheese and what you have is an elevated version of pork and beans. Hearty, delicious and stylishly rustic this cassoulet dish is perfect for a cold and lazy Sunday where you can sit back and relax as things slow cook and your home fills up with the most tempting smells.
Slow-cooked chorizo and cannellini bean cassoulet topped with wild rocket, Parmesan shavings and slices of slow-roasted pork belly. An elegant version of pork and beans. #chorizo #pork #slowcooking #beans
3 tbsp olive oil
750 g (26.5 oz) pork belly
225 g (8 oz) Spanish chorizo
1 large leek (finely chopped)
3 large cloves of garlic (minced)
2 or 3 fillets of anchovies (minced)
4 large red tomatoes (diced)
6 oz (180ml) dry white wine
12 oz ( 355 ml) of chicken broth
2 x 14 oz ( ~400 g) can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
2 sprigs of rosemary
5–7 sprigs of thyme
sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F) or 150C (300F) with fan.
Remove stringed ends of chorizo and dice into pieces no bigger than 1 cm / 0.5 inch big.
In a large casserole pot (or any other pot that can go in the oven), add 3 tbsp of olive oil in the pot and cook over medium-high heat until hot.
Add diced chorizo and cook until the chorizo has crisped around the edges and the oil has taken on a reddish hue ( around 5-10 min).
Add finely chopped leek and minced anchovies to the pot and stir. Cook until the leek has softened.
Turn heat to high and add white wine, diced tomatoes, thyme and rosemary. Stir together and bring to a boil.
Let bubble away for a minute or so then add chicken broth and minced garlic. Stir then bring to a boil.
Once at a boil, add the drained cannellini beans. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 5-10 min.
While the beans and chorizo are simmering, prep the pork belly. Season all around with sea salt and ground pepper. If you have a block of pork belly and want a crispy crust, first pour 1-2 tsp of sunflower oil over the top and rub it well into the skin. Lightly sprinkle with a dusting of baking soda (no more than 1 / 4 tsp) and sea salt. Try not to use too much baking soda as just a little does the trick and too much makes the skin taste bitter like aspirin.
Place prepared pork belly and stew into the oven and let cook for 2 hours. If you are limited for oven space or simply just don’t want the chorizo and beans to cook in the oven, just let it simmer on the stovetop for 2 hours. Be mindful of the simmering as I have found that liquid evaporates quicker on the stovetop as opposed to cooking in the oven so you might want to add more chicken stock if this is the case.
After 2 hours, remove the cassoulet from the oven. If you are after crispy pork, turn the broiler on to high and let crisp under the heat. Be watchful though as the high heat can easily burn the top skin of the pork belly and then it’s all for naught.
For plating, I like to put a spoonful or two of cassoulet onto a plate, followed by a handful of rocket and shavings of Parmesan on top followed by a slice of pork belly. Serve with good crusty bread and a crispy white wine and you’ve got yourself a fancy meal of pork and beans.
- Category: Main, Pork
- Method: Slow cooking
- Cuisine: Western
Keywords: Pork, pork belly, chorizo, beans, rocket, parmesan, cassoulet, stew, leek, tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, anchovies, garlic, white wine, recipe
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