Sunday Suppers: Chicken Cassoulet
I love a cassoulet as much as the next guy.
Soaking those dried beans, melting that duck fat from the confit de canard, and seeking out that hard to find Toulouse garlic sausage that I can only get in NYC, it is a 2 day affair, but oh, so worth it.
Therefore, when I read this dumbed down recipe of "chicken cassoulet", I had very low expecations.
But the reviews were all 5 stars and I had chicken legs in the freezer, and homemade breadcrumbs ready to be toasted. No special trips to New York City or smuggling duck legs in my luggage from France neccesaire. I was craving cassoulet, and it looked like this would fit the bill.
Well to my surprise this was DELICIOUS. The perfect winter Sunday dinner.
Pretty simple to make, and I promise complete satisfaction.
I always have homemade breadcrumbs on hand, so I all I had to do was toast them up with garlic and olive oil and 1,2,3, dinner was ready.
Chicken Cassoulet (adapted from Melissa D'Arabian):
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, cut in 1/2 through the bone (I also used drumsticks....no white meat please)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound slab bacon, sliced into large lardons
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups cooked Northern white beans (soaked overnight or canned is fine)
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup chicken stock
small can of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 slices slightly stale or dried bread, pulsed into crumbs in food processor
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a small saute pan over low heat, add the oil and the garlic. Stir until the oil is fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss in the bread crumbs and cook until the bread crumbs start to turn golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Rinse and dry the chicken well and season with kosher salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a large Dutch oven, over medium-low heat, add the bacon and slowly render the fat.
Remove the bacon to a plate when crispy, leaving the fat in the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken on both sides and then remove to a plate. (I did this in 2 batches, you don't want to crowd the chicken. Makes a bit of a mess on the stove).
Add the onion, carrots and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup of white wine and reduce by half.
Stir in the beans, bay leaf and thyme. Nestle the chicken thighs and bacon into the pot.
Add the chicken stock, cover and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the lid and top the cassoulet with the chopped tomatoes and the garlic bread crumbs.
Return to the oven uncovered and bake for 20 more minutes so the breadcrumbs get nice and crisp.