Pork and Apple Cassoulet – not necessarily a traditional cassoulet in that it’s not cooked in a casserole and only contains two variations of pork – fresh shoulder and ham. And this version includes apple. However the sentiment is certainly there: rustic, with white beans and, dare I say, peasant-like in appearance with its nubbly breadcrumb topping – definitely not winning any prizes for beauty but the flavor is so wonderful and balanced. That’s what is really important.
Because this looks very average (I’m really selling it aren’t I??!) and really not the least bit attractive, I hesitated in sharing the pics and recipe with you. Its flavor and texture definitely make it a recipe worth sharing. So what is a cassoulet for those of you unfamiliar with its buttery-tender meat, squidgy white beans and wine-laced sauce. The dish originated in southern France and was once considered more a peasant food. Nowadays it’s more likely to appear on upscale French restaurants here in North America.
The moral of this story, if indeed there is one: don’t judge a book by its cover. This Pork and Apple Cassoulet might not win first prize in a beauty pageant (are those still a thing??) but it tastes amazing. The pork is so tender, the flavor bolstered by a handful of diced ham, the apple adds a little sweetness and helps to keep the meat juicy, the beans are creamy and the breadcrumb topping is crunchy, adding texture. I like to serve this with a nice pinot noir or a cab sav and either some steamed French beans or just baby salad greens dressed in olive oil and lemon juice. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Cheers for now, Lovoni xo
PORK AND APPLE CASSOULET
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 3/4 lbs boneless pork shoulder ribs, pork shoulder or shoulder, cubed
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup diced ham
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 15 oz can navy beans, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 – 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Chopped fresh parsley, to serve
- Crusty bread, to serve
- Steamed green beans or a simple mixed salad greens, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Heat the oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the pork in batches for about 5 minutes each batch until golden. Remove to a plate.
- Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the onion and cook, over medium-high heat, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant and softened.
- Add the wine and bring to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol taste. Add the broth, ham, mustard, salt, pepper, rosemary, carrot, apple, beans and pork. Stir to combine. Bring a boil. Cover and cook in the preheated over for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until pork is very tender and sauce is thickened a bit.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and return to the oven for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden. Or, to save time, place under a broiler, about 6 to 7 inches away from the heat source for a couple of minutes until browned, taking care to not burn the crumbs. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with crusty bread, steamed beans or salad.