- 2 cups dried white beans, such as haricots blancs or Great Northerns, soaked overnight in cold water and drained
- 2 quarts plus 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 pounds meaty country-style pork loin ribs, fat trimmed, meat removed from the bones and cut into 1-inch pieces, rib bones reserved
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 pound thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 pound andouille sausage, thickly sliced crosswise
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely diced
- 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 6 large plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- In a large saucepan, cover the beans with the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 1 hour. Drain the beans, reserving the stock. Return the stock to the saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced to 4 cups, about 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet. Working in 2 batches, season the rib meat with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat is rendered and the meat begins to crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to the platter. Add the andouille to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the platter. Add the reserved rib bones to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add to the platter.
- Add the onion, carrots and garlic to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf and cook, stirring until the tomatoes release their juices, about 3 minutes. Return the rib meat, bacon and andouille to the skillet; stir until heated through.
- Preheat the oven to 300°. Scrape the meat and vegetables into a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Nestle in the rib bones and top with the white beans and the reduced stock. Bake the cassoulet for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until bubbling and the beans on top are crisp. Let stand for 15 minutes. Pick out the bay leaf and serve.
The baked cassoulet can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Cover with aluminum foil and bring to room temperature before reheating in a 350° oven for about 40 minutes.
A fruity, off-dry Riesling or a rich, smoky country red from the south of France such as a Cahors.