I absolutely love cassoulet– a flavorful French stew made from duck confit, garlic sausage, pork and/or lamb, bacon and white beans. It’s a one pot meal that cooks slowly in the oven; when done properly, a lovely crunchy crust develops over the surface. My favorite recipe is the one from Anthony Bourdain when he headed up Les Halles in NYC; we would often go to the one on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown DC, just so I could get my cassoulet fix!
I realize a slow cooker soup and canned beans won’t come close to the texture and deep flavors of the multi-step cassoulet (never mind the fact there’s no duck confit), but the addition of smoked sausage seemed promising to me. This soup is also a much healthier dish, relying on turkey sausage and chicken for the meat, but that’s okay, too.
I changed the recipe by increasing the garlic from 3 to 5 cloves, the onions from 1 to 1 1/2 cups (which I sliced thin), and omitting the red pepper and cayenne which I’ve seen in cassoulet. You can find the recipe here. Cassoulet also doesn’t have tomatoes or carrots, but since it’s a soup, I see why they’re needed for flavor. Lastly, about about 30 minutes before serving, I removed some of the beans and mashed them, returning them back to the pot to thicken the soup.
Crockpot Cassoulet Soup (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
- 1 c chopped carrot (I did a medium dice)
- 1 1/2 c thinly sliced onions
- 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 8 oz skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 8 oz cooked smoked turkey sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced on the diagonal
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 TB chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 14.5-oz can Italian-style tomatoes
- 1 1/2 c reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 c white wine
In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, chicken broth and white wine.
Layer the the following ingredients into the crock pot: onion and carrots, then chicken and sausage,
followed by the beans and the seasonings.
Pour the tomato liquid over the layered ingredients and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
During the last hour, remove about a cup of beans with some liquid and mash. Return the mashed bean liquid to the pot and continue cooking.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
It is definitely NOT cassoulet-like in flavor, but the addition of the smoked sausage upgrades this soup from your run-of-the-mill Italian minestrone. Kurt said the soup was good, but it wasn’t “satisfying.” Next time I will fry some bacon and add that to the mix as well as reserve some to sprinkle on top to enhance the smoky flavor. I will definitely chop the onions in a small dice instead of slicing them thinly; I didn’t care for the long strings in each spoonful!
It’s good, but I think it needs a little enhancement, so it’s a keeper!