Helen’s Chicago Cassoulet

The Cassoulet Helen made for us in Chicago.

NOTE: The recipe can be halved.

2 cups dried canellini or great northern beans, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
Pork shoulder or fresh ham cut into large chunks and trimmed
6-8 brats, cut in 3rds
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, in 1/2 inch pieces
1 TBS thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
2 TBS tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups broth
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
olive oil

In large dutch oven, brown pork in olive oil.  Remove from pan.  Add onions, celery, carrot, and saute until translucent over medium heat.  Add tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and saute for 3 minutes.  Add canned tomatoes, broth, wine, bay, salt and pepper, and stir until combined.  Add beans and meats.  Bring to simmer, then place in preheated 325 oven, uncovered, for 2 hours.

Increase oven to 375.  Combine bread crumbs with 2-3 TBS olive oil, sprinkle on top of cassoulet and return to oven for 1 hour.

Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

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