Cassoulet, named after the earthenware vessel, is an aromatic not to mention hearty bean and meat stew guaranteed to warm your heart and your stomach during the cold winter months of the northern hemisphere. This French pork stew is a truly rustic dish with a blend of aromatic and savory spices giving it a unique and intense flavor.
What meats should you use?
Despite the unique combination of herbs and spices, the flavor is subtle and delicate, one could even say soothing. This is one of my favorite things to eat on those days when the temperature hovers around 20F. The key to a perfect pork cassoulet is the slow cooking process that tenderizes the meat and the beans and infuses the stew with its rich flavor. Your house will be filled with the aroma of thyme and allspice. Believe me, your mouth will water for hours. One of the most debated aspects is the choice of meats. My personal preference is Italian sausage, bacon and pork shoulder cut into bite-size pieces.
What is in cassoulet?
This French sausage stew is a close cousin to the Brazilian dish Feijoada * or the Spanish Fabada Asturiana.** My friend Bertrand introduced me to it many years ago. The first time he offered it to me I innocently said "This smells great, what is it?" In his matter-of-fact French way he said " Cassoulet is cassoulet!" Okay then, not what I would call a descriptive answer, but in the face of an aroma that beckoned me loudly, I had no other choice but to try it. I ate the whole bowl.
I recently made this dish for a fundraiser/contest at the university where I work. Although I did not win the main prize, I was voted most unique. I'll take that any day!!
What is typically served with cassoulet?
Cassoulet can stand on its own. A lot of people enjoy it with a dry red wine like a Malbec. In case you hadn't already guessed, this dish is quite hearty. With all the hearty pan browned pork, sausage, bacon, white beans, and savory sauce, your heart and tummy will feel warm and cozy. See why I love to make cassoulet in the winter? It's a hug in a bowl.
How to make cassoulet step by step
- Gather all your ingredients and have them ready all at once. As the French say "mise en place" is all the items measured, cut, peeled, sliced and ready to go when you start a dish. Preheat your oven to 250°F.
- Add the cut meats together - bacon and pork shoulder.
- Add the allspice, salt and pepper to the meat mixture and coat well.
- Rinse the beans and place in a large pot with enough water to cover and simmer for 20 minutes then drain.
- In a large oven safe pot with a lid ( I love my Le Creuset dutch oven) add the beans, vegetable broth, tomatoes, meats and tied herbs. Cover and cook for two hours in the oven.
- After two hours, add the red wine and cook one more hour or until the meat and beans are fork tender.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How long can I save and store cassoulet? You can store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container. Be sure to completely cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.
- Can I freeze the leftovers? Yes, you must completely cool the stew before freezing. Store in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 6 months. For single servings, freeze portions in a muffin tin and pop out the frozen rounds and store in freezer bags.
- How long can I leave this out at room temperature? You will need to refrigerate as soon as it reaches room temperature. If it has been left out more than 2 hours it will need to be discarded. For food safety, keep in mind that bacteria can grow after 2 hours in temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F.
Notes from above:
*Feijoada - A Brazilian stew made with black beans and pork.
** Fabada Asturiana - A white bean and pork stew seasoned with saffron. Indigenous to the Principality of Asturias (Northwest Spain)
If you are a fan of interesting stew type dishes here are some I think you find very exotic with some great flavors to explore. Vietnamese Beef Stew (bò sốt vang) is one amazing dish with flavors I have never combined until my friend Thanh from Hanoi gave me her recipe after I took a cooking class in her home. My family's favorite for Saint Patrick's Day is Guinness beef stew with its hearty rich broth. Growing up in Panamá we had our own version of our Panamanian beef stew that is our family's Latin style stew. If you are a spicy food lover then you have to try this dish from Northern region of India: spicy lamb stew: Rogan Josh. Enjoy these or bookmark them for later. I'd love to hear from you if you try them!
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Cassoulet - French Classic Pork and Sausage Stew Recipe
- 1 lbs Great Northern Beans dried
- 3 cups Vegetable broth
- 1 cups red wine
- 1 onion cut into chunks
- 14 oz crushed tomatoes canned type
- 3 carrots sliced into ½" pieces
- ½ lb garlic sausage partially cooked and sliced
- 1 lbs pork shoulder cut into 1 inch chunks
- ½ lb slab bacon cut into ½ inch chunks
- 2 Tbsp parsley 6 whole fresh sprigs
- 2 Tbsp thyme 6 whole fresh sprigs
- 1 tsp allspice
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
Preheat your oven to 250°F.
- Tie the thyme and parsley sprigs with butcher's twine. (This will be added to the casserole)
Place all the cut meat (bacon and pork shoulder) in a large bowl and add the allspice, salt and pepper and coat well.
- Rinse the beans and place in a large pot with enough water to cover on medium heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes and drain.
- In a large oven safe casserole place the beans, vegetable broth, tomatoes, meats and tied herbs.
Cover and cook for about two hours in the oven.
- Uncover and add the wine.
- Continue to cook for an additional hour or until the beans and meat are fork tender.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How long can I save and store cassoulet? You can store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container.
- Can I freeze cassoulet? Yes, you must completely cool the stew before freezing. Store in airtight containers for up to one month. For single servings, freeze portions in a muffin tin and pop out the frozen rounds and store in freezer bags.
Love cassoulet! This looks yummy
Rachel @ Simple Seasonal
Well done! This looks delicious!
Thanks Rachel. Cassoulet is one of my favorite winter meals.
What a beautiful and flavorful dish. I love cassoulet but never prepare it at home from the "classic" recipes I have because it seems like so much trouble. Your version looks much simpler and just as delicious.
Laura, it's really easy. Cassoulet also freezes well, a huge plus in my book.
hi! Dont get the bean part.. Are they canned beans or the dried ones uncooked??? Can this be made in the stove instead of oven?.?. Every time i cook something with wine like coq au vin it ends up with a purple color instead of like u see in this. Any reason o comment of why is this??.
Hi Katia, thanks for asking. You can certainly use the canned beans; it will cut down on the cooking time.
You can definitely make this on the stove. I once made coq au vin with a friend of mine who is a French chef. His coq au vin had a slight purple hue to it, so don't feel bad. Red wine has a very intense color and tends to dye everything it is cooked with. Hope this answers your questions.
This looks amazing! It's starting to cool down in SoCal and I get to finally make hearty warm stews/soups. Will have to give this a try.
try it out. It will warm you from the inside out.
Oh Analida this looks soo good! I've of course heard of cassoulet but have never made it. You always come up with such interesting dishes. I like your pictures too!
Thanks Denise. This is the one dish I always make during winter. It is so filling and comforting. BTW... my husband is the photographer, 🙂
Chelc | Inside the Fox Den
This sounds like a great recipe! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday, hope to see you again next week!
You are very welcome!
where are the onions and carrots added?
Sorry, my bad. You place the onion and the carrots in the pot with the beans and the vegetable broth. My apologies.
Casoulet sounds like an amazing recipe for the cold weather. Meat and beans is always such a hearty combo and so filling too! And yours looks really easy to make.
This looks like such a comforting meal, I need to make this, I know it will be delicious and my family will love it.
Dan from Platter Talk
We made this cassoulet last night and the entire family loved it; I wish I had found the recipe earlier in the season but look forward to trying it next fall and winter! BTW, your photos are gorgeous and the process pics and instructions that you provide here were a huge help.
Dominique | Perchance to Cook
This cassoulet looks delicious! It's one of my favorite meals to eat on a col day... it just warms you to the bones and gives you great energy. I am going to save this recipe to try! I've never made it before and can't wait!
I love dutch oven dishes! The flavors that develop from slow cooking are just so well developed and intense. This dish speaks to my Frenchie roots! We've never made it at home, but will definitely be trying this at our next get together.
This looks like the perfect cassoulet! Such a warming and comforting dish, great any time of the year.
This looks so delicious! And I'll fully admit, I had no idea what cassoulet was either 🙂 Sausage, pork AND bacon?! This sounds like my kind of dish
This is a very hearty dish with very delicate flavors too!
Yum! This looks like one cozy dish. I can't get enough comfort food in my life, so I'm definitely giving this a try soon. Thanks for sharing!
You can't possibly resist this french classic! I always thought it was somehow too complicated to make, but you proved me wrong, can't wait to make it for my family!
Nothing like a good looking soup on a cold and rainy day like today. Thank you for sharing!
So my husband and I just watched the Final Table series and feijoada came up several times. Had never heard of it before. Have heard of cassoulet but wondering why I've never made it. I'm a huge fan of EVERYTHING french. Excited to try this. Thanks!
Cozy dinner perfection. I have a friend who will absolutely die for this one—will be making it for her when she is in town this month!
Two questions about your cassoulet recipe
1) what wine would you recommend to use?
2) would a 4 quart dutch oven hold this cassoulet? Or do I need to reduce the number of portions?
Hi Marlo, I always use a dry red like a cabernet or merlot for this recipe and nothing fancy or expensive. My Dutch oven is 4 quarts and it just fits. If you want to reduce you can click the servings number in the recipe and then print the revised recipe.
I have not prepared this yet but it’s on my list this week. It’s a cool down in LA CA for a few days. We have a local market that makes my favorite garlic sausage. Yes 5 stars and not yet made because you said go ahead and use the canned beans. You are on my yes list. I have been trying to find a simple rather clear French soup made with pork potatoes and carrot but have yet to find the recipe. Not even in the cookbook Little Paris Kitchen. Do you have one? Kind regards.
I would try to find a consommé recipe made with pork, potato and carrot. I don't have any in my cookbooks.