CHICKEN SAUSAGE CASSOULET
- 1 pound navy beans, dried; or white kidney
- 6 sausage, Italian, mild
- 4 chicken leg quarters, whole
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1/2 pound bacon, smoked; strips cut into 1/2 –inch pieces
- 1 tbsp thyme, fresh; leaves picked, plus 5 whole sprigs
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 leeks, rinsed, halved, and cut into half-moons
- 2 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1 large stalk celery, finely sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 28 oz cantomatoes, diced
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1/2 lemon zest
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper, freshly cracked
Add the dried beans to a large bowl and cover them water. Let sit at room temperature overnight. The next day, drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Heat a large high-sided oven-safe skillet (or Dutch oven) over medium-heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sausages and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Season the chicken legs liberally with salt and pepper, and pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the pan. Brown the chicken on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside
In the hot pan, still over medium-heat, cook the bacon until it just starts to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, leek, thyme leaves, celery, and carrot and cook, stirring often, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the veggies just begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the bay leaf, pour in the white wine, and cook until the liquid has almost vanished, about 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, stock, lemon zest, and beans, and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium high, and bring to a rapid boil. Remove from the heat.
Arrange the sausages and chicken in the pan, in one layer, submerging half of the meat into the sauce. Top with fresh thyme sprigs and transfer to the oven.
Cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the chicken easily falls away from the bone and the sauce has thickened beautifully. Serve with crusty bread, mashed potatoes, polenta, or anything perfectly suited to sop up that saucy goodness.