This satisfying butternut squash cassoulet recipe, filled with smoky bacon, browned chicken, and caramelized vegetables, is reminiscent of autumn. A must-have recipe for entertaining, this savory-sweet cassoulet is a simple dish to prepare in advance, and gives the house a tantalizing aroma as it bakes. It also makes for a filling main course on chilly evenings.
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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 25 minutes
- 1 pounds dried white beans, soaked, sorted, and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound lardons (bacon strips)
- 2 large white onions, peeled, halved, and cut into slices
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, cubed ( approximately 4 cups)
- 1 quart plus 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 4 teaspoons melted butter
How to make caramelized butternut squash and white bean cassoulet:
Place the beans in a large saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring the beans to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook them until they begin to turn tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper to the beans and cook until the liquid has absorbed, about 25 additional minutes. Remove the beans from the heat, drain and discard any additional liquid, and set the beans aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the lardons for 5 minutes, until they turn brown. Crumble them coarsely and transfer them to a plate. Add the onions to the pan and sauté them for 10 minutes, until they turn tender. Lower the heat, and cook the onions on low, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes until they are caramelized and golden brown. Transfer them to the plate with the lardons.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Drain all but 4 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the chicken breast pieces to the fat and brown them over medium-high heat. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl. Lower the heat to medium-low, melt 1 tablespoon butter in the pan, and then sauté the chopped garlic for 90 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the cubed butternut squash to the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and sauté the squash until it is lightly caramelized. Take care to keep the temperature low enough to avoid burning the garlic.
Combine the crumbled lardons, caramelized onions, browned chicken pieces, chicken stock, bouquet garni, dried thyme, browned butternut squash, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper in a large casserole dish. Cover with a lid or foil, and bake the casserole for 25 minutes. Add the carrots to the casserole, cover, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Add the reserved white beans to the hot casserole and gently stir the mixture. In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs, parsley, and thyme with the melted butter. Sprinkle the seasoned bread crumbs over the casserole and bake it, uncovered, for 1 hour. Discard the bouquet garni and serve the cassoulet hot.
This chicken and butternut squash cassoulet recipe makes 12 large servings.
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