Savory Pork and Lentil Cassoulet Recipe
Are you tired of cooking the same dishes over and over again? Do you crave a hearty and comforting meal that will warm your soul on a chilly evening? Look no further than this Pork and Lentil Cassoulet recipe!
As an Israeli chef with years of experience in the kitchen, I can assure you that this recipe is a crowd-pleaser. It’s a French classic that combines tender pork shoulder, flavorful sausage, and earthy lentils. The dish is then simmered in a fragrant broth with aromatic vegetables and spices.
This dish is perfect for any occasion, from a casual weeknight dinner to a fancy family gathering. It’s versatile enough to be made in advance or reheated for leftovers. Plus, it’s easy to customize based on your preferences or pantry ingredients.
Follow my step-by-step instructions below to create the ultimate comfort food dish: Pork and Lentil Cassoulet. I guarantee it won’t disappoint!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for a hearty and delicious meal that’s perfect for those cozy winter nights, then look no further than this pork and lentil cassoulet recipe. This dish is loaded with savory flavors and features tender chunks of boneless pork shoulder, lentils, and a variety of aromatic vegetables that have been slow-cooked to perfection.
One of the reasons why you’ll absolutely love this recipe is that it’s incredibly versatile. You can tailor the dish to your own personal preferences by substituting ingredients or adjusting the seasonings to suit your taste. Plus, it’s great for meal prep or batch cooking, as it yields a generous amount that can be easily reheated later.
Another reason why this recipe is such a crowd-pleaser is its rich and complex flavor profile. We’ve combined classic French ingredients like rosemary sprigs and beef bouillon granules with earthy lentils and thick-cut bacon to create a harmony of sweet and savory flavors that will make your taste buds dance.
On top of all that, this pork and lentil cassoulet recipe is super easy to make. With just a few simple steps, you can have a delicious and nutritious meal on the table in no time at all. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even experiment with different variations of the dish—like adding some Italian sausage or Andouille sausage to give it an extra kick of flavor.
So whether you’re looking for a comforting meal that’s perfect for chilly evenings or simply want to indulge your taste buds with bold new flavors, this pork and lentil cassoulet recipe ticks all the right boxes. Trust me—you won’t regret giving this hearty stew a try!
- 2 cups dried lentils, preferably French or green
- 1 large onion, cut into wedges
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 4 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 parsnips, finely chopped
- 1 canned tomatoes (14.5 oz each), drained and coarsely chopped
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 cups water or beef broth
- For the pork:
- 1 boneless pork shoulder (about 4 pounds), cut into chunks
- smoked pork belly or thick-cut bacon (optional)
- pork sausages or Andouille sausage (optional)
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dry white wine (about 3 cups)
Enjoy cooking with these ingredients!
The Recipe How-To
Now, let’s get into the fun part – cooking this delicious Pork and Lentil Cassoulet.
Firstly, cut the boneless pork shoulder into 1 1/2 inch chunks. I personally like to use boneless pork shoulder for this dish because it has enough fat marbling that makes the meat tender when cooked low and slow. Set the pork aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Next, prep the veggies. Finely dice 1 large onion and roughly chop your choice of celery, carrots, and parsnips. Peel and coarsely chop garlic cloves.
Heat up a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of your favorite cooking oil or 4 oz thick-cut bacon chopped into small pieces to render its fat. Once hot, add the pork chunks and cook until browned on all sides for about 4-5 minutes.
Once browned, remove the pork from the pot and set aside on a plate.
In the same pot with remaining fat over medium heat, add in diced onion and sauté until softened for about 2-3 minutes. Next, stir in chopped celery, carrots, parsnips, garlic cloves, and dried rosemary along with a teaspoon of salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste to create a mirepoix base.
Mix beef bouillon granules and water together in a bowl until dissolved then add it to the pot. Add one can of peeled whole tomatoes and break them down using your wooden spoon to incorporate them into your stew. Once combined, add back in your browned pork along with one sprig of fresh rosemary.
Bring everything to a boil then cover with a fitted lid (or aluminum foil) and transfer it to an oven preheated at 325°F or stove top under low heat for about an hour.
After an hour has passed, add cooked lentils (use green lentils if you can find them) into your pork stew along with white beans (I used cannellini beans). Stir everything together gently then continue cooking in your oven/stovetop until both lentils are tender and meat is fully cooked through – typically around another hour.
Before serving, remove rosemary sprig and taste it one last time to adjust seasoning if needed. Your scrumptious Pork and Lentil Cassoulet Recipe is now ready to be served!
Substitutions and Variations
Are you feeling adventurous? There are many ways to switch up the flavors and ingredients in this pork and lentil cassoulet recipe.
Want to add some spice? Try swapping out the thick-cut bacon for spicy andouille sausage. This substitution will give the dish a smoky, spicy flavor that is sure to wow your taste buds.
Looking for a vegetarian option? You can easily omit the pork shoulder and replace it with mushrooms or more lentils. This substitution will add more earthy flavors to your dish, which pairs perfectly with the richness of the lentils.
Not a fan of lentils? No problem. Try substituting them for white beans or puy lentils. This substitution will give the cassoulet a creamier texture, while still maintaining its savory profile.
For those looking for a healthier option, consider swapping out the pork belly for turkey bacon or omitting it entirely. This substitution will make the dish lower in fat without compromising its flavor.
Finally, if you want to elevate this dish even further, try adding finely diced celery and carrots or even parsnips. These veggies will serve as complimentary ingredients that will enhance the already vibrant flavors of the pork and lentil stew.
No matter what substitutions or variations you decide on, this recipe is versatile enough to accept any creative twist you can dream up!
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving and pairing this hearty Pork and Lentil Cassoulet recipe, you will not be disappointed with its versatility. This dish is a main course all on its own, but it also pairs well with other dishes of your choice that can add some variety and complete your meal.
To get the most out of this cassoulet, try serving it on top of a bed of fluffy white rice or roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or brussels sprouts. This will not only add more color to the dish but also give exciting mouthfuls of flavors to your palate.
For a complete sensory experience, I suggest pairing it with a full-bodied red wine such as Merlot or Zinfandel. Alternatively, a dark beer like ale or stout would complement it exceptionally well. The rich and robust flavors in these drinks will go hand-in-hand with the savory and earthy taste of the pork and lentil stew.
If you are going for something lighter, a side salad made of fresh greens, nuts and fruits can balance the boldness of this meaty cassoulet. You could also opt for pickles or chutneys that can give a tangy zip against the hearty richness of this stew.
Overall, this Pork and Lentil Cassoulet is quite versatile so don’t be afraid to experiment with different pairings until you find what works best for you. Surely you’ll have an impressive meal perfect for cozy nights in or gatherings with friends around the table.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Making this pork and lentil cassoulet ahead of time is an excellent way to prepare for a meal. The flavors will have more time to meld, resulting in an even more flavorful dish. If you’d like to make it in advance, follow the recipe instructions up until the baking step, then store it in the fridge for up to three days before baking.
To reheat the cassoulet, simply bake it in the oven at 350°F for about 25-30 minutes until heated through. You may want to add some extra chicken broth or water to loosen it up a bit if it has thickened in the fridge. Alternatively, you can reheat individual servings in the microwave.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or frozen for two to three months. When reheating from frozen, let it thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
If you choose to freeze your pork lentil cassoulet, bear in mind that some of the vegetables and beans may become a little mushy once defrosted. To mitigate this, try adding fresh vegetables just before reheating. However, this casserole is a fantastic option for meal prepping; whip up a batch on Sunday and eat hearty portions throughout the week.
Tips for Perfect Results
To ensure that your Pork and Lentil Cassoulet comes out perfectly every time, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Use the Best Quality Pork: Selecting the right cut of pork is important, as it can make a huge difference in taste and texture. Look for a boneless pork shoulder with good marbling or smoked pork belly.
2. Soak Lentils: Before cooking the lentils, it’s recommended that they be soaked for at least an hour. This helps to remove any impurities and ensures that they cook evenly.
3. Be Patient: Cassoulet takes time, but the results are well worth it. Slow cooking the dish allows all of the flavors to meld together perfectly.
4. Use Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs, like rosemary sprigs, add a lot of flavor to this dish. So take the time to use fresh herbs rather than dried rosemary.
5. Don’t Overcook The Beans: Keep on eye on the white beans as they tend to get mushy if overcooked so remove them from heat before they become too soft.
6. Add Salt and Pepper Mindfully: Always be mindful of how much salt and pepper you are adding to the dish since you already added chicken broth which contains sodium.
7. Taste Frequently: Taste the dish frequently while cooking and adjust seasonings as needed to achieve perfect balance of flavors before serving.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to make an amazing Pork and Lentil Cassoulet that will always impress your guests!
As we approach the end of our recipe article, I want to take a moment to address some frequently asked questions about our Pork and Lentil Cassoulet recipe. Before you get started, it’s important to have all the information you need to make this dish a success. So let’s dive into some of the most common queries about this hearty and delicious meal.
What kind of bean is used in cassoulet?
To prepare the beans for this dish, we will need a pound of dried beans. You can choose between Tarbais, flageolet, lingot, Great Northern or cannellini beans. These options are all great for this recipe. We will need 3 teaspoons of kosher salt to give them the right amount of flavor. To add some extra flavor, we will use a bouquet garni consisting of 3 sprigs of Italian parsley, 3 sprigs of thyme, and 1 bay leaf, all tied together with kitchen string. This will elevate the taste of the beans to a whole new level.
What kind of sausage is used for cassoulet?
You can prepare Toulouse sausage in various ways, such as grilling it over hardwoods or gently roasting it in an oven set at 180°C. It’s also a popular ingredient in cassoulet and other winter soups. In France, you can find Toulouse sausage in different flavors, but the primary components are pork, red wine, and garlic.
What goes well with cassoulet?
White rice is an ideal choice to provide a contrast in texture to cassoulet. Its soft and fluffy texture complements the rich and meaty flavors of the dish. Roasted potatoes make for a perfect accompaniment to cassoulet as they soak up and balance the intense, savory flavor of the sauce. Steamed vegetables are an excellent option to balance out the richness of the dish with their fresh and crisp flavors. They also provide a lightness to the meal, making it seem less heavy.
What is in the French dish cassoulet?
When it comes to French country cuisine, Cassoulet is a dish that truly stands out. This thick stew is prepared slowly, allowing the flavors of sausage, confit, pork and white beans to merge together for hours, forming a truly exquisite and satisfying blend of taste and texture.
In conclusion, this pork and lentil cassoulet recipe is a perfect meal to impress your family and friends. With its hearty and filling ingredients, flavors of rosemary, garlic, and bacon, and the option to substitute or add variations as needed, this dish will surely become one of your favorites.
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or trying out new recipes for the first time, the pork and lentil cassoulet recipe is an excellent choice for any occasion. Not only does it taste delicious, but it’s also easy to prepare in advance or make in big batches to enjoy throughout the week.
So why wait? Use these tips and recommendations to create the most flavorful lentil cassoulet recipe you’ve ever tried. Serve it with a side salad, some crusty bread, and a glass of white wine for a perfect comfort meal that’s sure to impress.
Pork and Lentil Cassoulet Recipe
- 3/4 lb boneless pork shoulder
- 1 large onion, cut into wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomatoes, cut up
- 4 medium carrots, and sliced 1/2 inch thick (2 cups) or 4 medium parsnips, sliced 1/2 inch thick (2 cups)
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
- 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- fresh rosemary sprig (optional)
- Trim fat from pork and cut meat into 3/4-inch cubes.
- In a large nonstick skillet brown pork, onion, and garlic in hot oil.
- Transfer mixture to a 3-1/2- to 4-quart electric crockery cooker, add water, undrained tomatoes, carrots or parsnips, celery, lentils, rosemary, bouillon granules, salt, and pepper.
- Cover and cook on high-heat setting for 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours (12 hours if using the low-heat setting).
- Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig, if desired.
- Make-Ahead Tip: Slice vegetables the night before; add seasonings. Cover and chill until ready to assemble in crockery cooker.