It’s Taste WA Wine Month and this is our first recipe pairing of the month! Taste WA has laid out the weekly themes and Week 1 is Casserole and Cabernet. We decided to go big with cassoulet - a rich, slow-cooked casserole containing meats and saucy white beans, originating in southern France. This classic, decadent dish calls for a full-bodied red wine such as our 2017 Cab Sauv.
If you have experience making cassoulet, you know it traditionally takes A LOT of time. Days even. And it’s challenging if not impossible to find all the traditional ingredients locally, such as duck, goose, pork skin, Toulouse sausage, ham hocks that aren’t smoked, etc.
We aimed to dial things back a bit and make this recipe more accessible without sacrificing taste. The depth of flavor in this dish really can’t be matched and though it does take a certain amount of time and effort, the results are worth it! Let us know if you give it a try by emailing Marketing Manager Jen or tagging us on social media.
Also, have you heard about our Taste WA 5-pack available this month? Get 5 wines - one for each week’s theme – and enjoy $5 shipping!
Now, for the fun part...
1 lb dried Tarbais beans (we found ours here on Amazon or substitute with Cannellini or Great Northern) 1/3 lb pork belly, cut into 1-2” pieces 1 qt chicken broth 1 t salt + more to taste 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled 6 whole cloves garlic 10 whole allspice berries 10 peppercorns 2 5” sprigs rosemary
4-5 sprigs thyme 4 sprigs Italian flat leaf parsley 4 bay leaves ½ white onion 2 med carrots, unpeeled, cut into large chunks + 2 med carrots, peeled & medium diced ½ white onion peeled and cut in half again + ½ white onion, medium diced 1 leek, finely sliced 1 lb Italian (not sweet) sausage in casings 1 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – lightly salted and peppered
For the beans:
Cover with water and soak overnight.
In a piece of cheesecloth, add allspice, cloves and peppercorns, tie up in a pouch. Set aside.
Tie up thyme, parsley and rosemary into a little bundle (aka bouquet garni). Set aside.
Drain and rinse beans, add to a large pot. Add pork belly, chicken broth, 1 t salt, 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled carrots, quartered half onion, bouquet garni, and cheesecloth pouch of spices. If necessary, add water to fully cover beans. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Periodically skim the top layer off of the liquid – maybe 3-4 times. Cook until beans are almost soft but still have a bit of a bite – approx 1 hour for Tarbais.
Remove pork, set aside to use later. Remove carrot, onion, bouquet garni and cheese cloth pouch and discard (we kept the carrots – they were a delicious snack!). Set beans aside.
Building your cassoulet:
Heat oven to 300.
In a second oven-safe pot (a dutch oven if you have it), brown meats in batches - first pork belly, then sausages, then chicken, browning in the fat of the previous - and set aside. Drain fat to leave approx 1 T left in pot. Add veggies, sauté until softened.
Add beans and pork belly to veggie mixture, plus the bay leaves. Stir to combine. Nestle chicken thighs and whole sausages into the beans until about half covered.
Bake uncovered for a minimum of 4 hours. Check approx every hour – if beans are getting dry, add either broth or hot water down the side being careful not to disturb the crust. The French say the darker the better, but take it to the brown-ness level you like! It should be crispy on top when done.
To serve, we suggest slicing your sausages, then layering beans, chicken and sausage in a shallow bowl. Maybe sprinkle a little fresh parsley on top for freshness and color. Add some warm, crusty French bread and a green salad to cut the richness, and our 2017 Cab Sauv to wash it all down - cheers!
P.S. The first night, the sausage was so good we thought we might skip the chicken in the future to save time. However, on the second night we shredded the chicken into the beans and it was soooooooooo good.
Rated 91 points and declared a “Serious, juicy Cabernet with aging potential” by Stephen Tanzer, is silky smooth upfront, then packs a punch with a lingering finish. The perfect wine to cut through a rich meaty dish like Cassoulet!
Tanzer's further description of the wine: "Deep red-ruby color. Blackberry, cassis, menthol, bitter chocolate and herbs on the nose. Quite suave and fine-grained on entry, offering terrific depth and subtle intensity to its dark berry and dark chocolate flavors. Conveys an impression of slow, full ripeness in the way the wine spreads out horizontally to saturate the palate without any undue weight. Finishes with sophisticated dusty tannins and terrific building length. With its superior sweetness and complementary oak element, this is even easier to taste and drink today than the basic Cabernet. Superb balance." - Stephen Tanzer, Vinous
83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot | Royal Slope AVA | Lawrence Vineyards | 746 cases produced