Chef Michael White cooks up a crowd-friendly dish packed with beans, chicken and bacon.
Note: The Beans and Sofrito should be made the day before.
For the Beans:
Soak the beans in three times the amount of water overnight. In a large pot, add the beans, the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaves; add enough water to cover. Cook at a low simmer until the beans are tender. Allow beans to cool in the cooking liquid and reserve.
For the Sofrito:
In a food processor, mince the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Place in sieve to drain the liquid from the vegetables.
In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sweat the vegetable mixture for 5 minutes, constantly stirring. Add the tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine, then add the chicken stock. Cook the vegetables until they are very soft. Blend the vegetables in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. Cool and reserve.
For the Cassoulet:
Preheat oven to 350F. Temper all protein to room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking.
In a large Dutch oven, over medium-low heat, saute the bacon rendering the fat. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the sausages and saute to lightly brown the outside. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. Season the chicken thighs with salt, add them skin side down to the pan, saute until golden brown and set aside.
In the same Dutch oven, put 1 cup of the Sofrito and deglaze with the white wine. Stir in the Beans and sachet of thyme and bay leaf. Arrange the bacon, sausages and chicken in the Dutch oven. Add the chicken stock, cover and bake in oven for 2½ hours.
Remove from oven, remove the lid and top the cassoulet with bread crumbs. Return to oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes (or until all protein is cooked through). Serve.