Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, the perfect opportunity to spend a leisurely day at home, preparing a special dinner with your loved one. Our menu features the beloved French dish know as cassoulet, which is made in a slow cooker to streamline preparation. Chock-full of creamy white beans and succulent meats, including pork shoulder, chorizo sausage and smoky bacon, this warming one-pot meal is just right for a cozy celebration. Showcasing winter citrus at its seasonal best, our simple yet stunning salad combines crimson blood oranges with paper-thin fennel slices plus a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts. For a refreshing ending to the meal, serve velvety smooth lemon pots de crème, crowned with a dollop of meringue.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma and adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller, Chef/Owner, The French Laundry.
- 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 8 pieces and trimmed of excess fat
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup panko
- 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
- 4 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions (about 3 medium onions)
- 2 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 can (35 ounces) peeled Italian plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 12 cups cooked Great Northern beans or other small white beans, drained
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh chorizo sausage, each halved on the bias
- 1 garlic head, halved crosswise
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 pound baguette, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
- Coarse sea salt, such as sel gris, for garnish
- 1 Season the pork generously with kosher salt and pepper; set aside.
- 2 In the stovetop-safe insert of a slow cooker over medium-high heat, combine the canola oil and panko. Cook, stirring constantly, until the panko is toasted and golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the panko to a baking sheet and season with kosher salt and pepper.
- 3 Add the bacon to the insert and cook until crisp on both sides, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon fat in the insert.
- 4 Add half of the pork to the insert and brown on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining pork.
- 5 Add the onions and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the insert and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and broth. Remove the insert from the heat and add the beans, pork, chorizo and garlic.
- 6 Place the insert on the slow-cooker base, cover and cook on low until the pork pulls apart easily with a fork, 9 to 10 hours. Skim off the fat, and remove and discard the garlic. Fold in the panko and the 1/4 cup parsley. Adjust the seasonings with kosher salt and pepper.
- 7 Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat the broiler.
- 8 Brush the baguette slices with olive oil. Arrange the slices, oiled side up, on top of the cassoulet, overlapping them. Broil until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
- 9 Let the cassoulet stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle each serving with the reserved bacon, sea salt and parsley. Serves 8 to 10.