This one’s for Emily and Megan… My superstar sisters who are both in the same “phase” of life. Toddlers, babies, diapers. They both enjoy cooking, but they enjoy it even more when it requires only a few quick minutes of prep time for the big return of happy tummies. If I were smart, I’d do this more often. In this case I did it out of necessity. We were headed up to the mountains for a day of skiing. The plan was to head out at 7 am and return home around 6:30 that night. And I knew we’d be starving after all that skiing. Now, supposedly, cassoulet is one of Julia Child’s most elaborate recipes. I bet it’s amazing, but in the busy world we live in, “elaborate” is reserved for special occasions, so I need something simple for times when I am far from the kitchen. Enter the Crock Pot. The flavor produced from slow cooking ingredients together in one pot all day covers over the absence of the forty steps I may not have had time for. I prepped the ingredients for this recipe the night before, and then threw them together in the morning and let the crock pot do the rest of the work. The result was such a flavorful dish, and everything you need, literally, in one pot.
Slow Cooker Chicken Cassoulet
recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes
Note: Serves 8. This recipe is perfect for cold days, or even entertaining on a cozy evening with ease… just make sure the seasoning is right. I find it needs a touch more salt at the end, so you can even set out sea salt for people to season their own bowls.
- 3 cups dried navy beans
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1, 6-oz. can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 heaping tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped a bit
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 8 oz. (or a bit more if you’d like) cooked Polish sausage (I used a smoked turkey Polish sausage), cut into 1/4 inch slices
- fresh Italian parsley for sprinkling
- sea salt for sprinkling
- The NIGHT before… sort through the beans (making sure any odd rock or grain are removed), rinse them well in warm water in a colander, and put them in the slow cooker. Cover them with at least 2 inches of water and just let them soak over night (at least 8 hours).
- The MORNING of… pour beans back into colander, rinse, and then return to the slow cooker and pour in enough water to cover beans by two inches.
- In a medium bowl, mix together carrots, onion, tomato paste, red wine, garlic cloves, thyme leaves, salt and bay leaves
- Pour this veggie mixture over the beans and mix together well in the slow cooker.
- Place the chicken thighs on top of the bean and veggie mixture.
- Place the slices of Polish sausage on top of the chicken (these will cook down over the chicken which cooks over the beans and veggies…SO delicious).
- Cover and cook on LOW setting for 11-12 hours.
- Serve each dish with the beans, veggies, a chicken thigh, slices of sausage, and a sprinkling of fresh Italian parsley and sea salt.