Slow Cooker Cassoulet
IntroductionThis version of a classic French comfort food is lighter on fat but heavy on flavor.
This version of a classic French comfort food is lighter on fat but heavy on flavor.
1 cup dried great northern beans*
16 ounces skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
4 ounces reduced-fat mild Italian sausage, diced
2 large white or yellow onions, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup baby carrots (or 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped)
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
1 (14.5 ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash or sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)**
*Or 2 (14.5-ounce) cans rinsed and drained. Add canned beans hour or two before serving.
** Whole-wheat panko are preferred.
Overnight soak method: Rinse the beans under cold water. Place in a mixing bowl with enough water to cover. Allow to sit overnight.
Quick soak method: Place them in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and remove from heat. Steep for an hour, then drain and proceed with the recipe.
Place a large saute pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the chicken and cook until it's no longer pink, about four minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking it up with the back of a spoon as it browns. Cook for three minutes.
Transfer the meats to the slow cooker, then return the saute pan to the heat. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic.
Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the vinegar, and stir vigorously to remove any brown bits in the bottom of the pan.
Add the vegetables and any liquid in the pan to the slow cooker along with the soaked beans, tomatoes, squash, spices, and chicken stock.
Stir to combine, cover and cook on low for seven or eight hours.
Just before serving, use the back of a soup ladle to gently mash the beans and squash until the stew has thickened slightly.
Place the breadcrumbs in a small skillet coated with cooking spray. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned.
Top each serving of cassoulet with 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs.
Serving Size: 6 portions (1 cup)
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