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“This classic French stew recipe is typically made with a variety of meats and simmered over the course of multiple days. In this easy, streamlined cassoulet, the slow cooker makes it a breeze to have a healthy dinner on the table when you get home.”
1 pound dried great northern beans, soaked (see Tip) and drained
1 4-ounce ham hock
2 cups halved and sliced onion
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 (28 ounce) can no-salt-added plum tomatoes
2 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2½ cups coarse fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1To prepare cassoulet: Combine beans, ham hock, onion, sliced garlic, bay leaves, thyme and salt in a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker. Add broth and juice from tomatoes (reserve the tomatoes). Nestle pork into the bean mixture.
2Cook tomato paste in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until deeply browned in several spots on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste and release the browned bits from the pan. Pour into the slow cooker. Coarsely chop the reserved tomatoes and spread over the top so the beans are mostly covered.
3Cook on High for 6 hours or Low for 9 hours. Remove meat from the ham hock and chop; stir back into the stew. Discard the bay leaves.
4To prepare breadcrumbs: Cook oil and breadcrumbs in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until starting to crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Add minced garlic; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve the breadcrumbs over the cassoulet.
To make ahead: Soak beans and prep ingredients for Step 1 up to 1 day ahead. Prepare Step 2 just before turning on the slow cooker.
Equipment: 6- to 7-quart slow cooker
Tips: Soaking dry beans before slow-cooking ensures creamy results. Place in a bowl, cover with at least 2 inches of cold water and soak for 12 to 24 hours. In a hurry? Place beans in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.