Swapping smoked turkey thigh for the bacon and using turkey-meat sausages will give you a leaner dish. To further lighten it up, do not top with the breadcrumbs.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
- Place beans in bowl and pour in enough water to cover by 3″. Soak at room temperature overnight.
- To make a sachet for the herbs, cut an 8″-sq. of double-layer cheesecloth. Place bay leaves, thyme and garlic in centre. Gather ends, tie with kitchen string and trim excess.
- Drain and rinse beans. Place beans in large pot with sachet, onion, celery, carrot and enough water to cover by 3″. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer. Cook until beans are soft, 25 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Season lightly with salt. Cool in cooking liquid.
- To make soffrito, heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring, until tender, 15 minutes. Add garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Add tomato paste. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Cut bacon crosswise in half. Cut each half into 1⁄2″ slices. In large nonstick frying pan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until nicely browned, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to baking tray. In same pan, cook sausages until browned, 3 minutes per side. Transfer to baking tray. Cut sausages in thirds.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. To assemble cassoulet, heat stock and season very lightly with salt. Drain beans, discarding aromatics, and place in mixing bowl with soffrito and pepper. Mix to combine. In 41⁄2-qt. baking dish, place single layer of beans. Top with bacon and sausage. Place garlic head in middle. Cover with remaining beans. Pour in stock. Cover dish with foil and place on baking tray. Bake 11⁄2 hours.
- Remove foil. Bake 20 minutes. Mix panko with duck fat or oil. Sprinkle over cassoulet. Bake until golden brown, another 20 to 25 minutes. Remove head of garlic from cassoulet and serve on plate. Serve with crusty bread to spread roasted garlic on.
House & Home February 2014