There are few recipes that are better suited for warming you up on a cold night than cassoulet, a slow-cooked casserole from southwestern France traditionally made with beans, duck and pork. My version is much lighter but just as satisfying, and a great way to repurpose roast chicken and veggies. Fresh herbs and a Parmesan bread crumb topping lend loads of flavor.
Technique tip: The cassoulet can be assembled (unbaked) without the bread crumb topping up to 4 hours ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated. Sprinkle the bread crumb topping over the cassoulet just before baking and allow a bit more baking time for the cooled cassoulet.
- 1 slice bacon, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Half of a 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 roasted carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 roasted parsnip, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 roasted potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 roasted whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks connected on each leg, about 9 ounces each)
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until crisp. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until tender.
3. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in thyme, rosemary, garlic and ground fennel seeds and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in broth, beans and roasted vegetables.
4. Transfer bean mixture to a 9- by 9-inch baking dish. Nestle chicken legs in beans.
5, In a small bowl, mix panko and Parmesan cheese to blend. Sprinkle most of panko mixture over beans (don't worry if the juices are soaked up by some of the crumbs) and the remainder over the chicken.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until bean mixture is bubbling all over and panko topping is crisp and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.