Beat back winter’s last blasts with this hearty wine-country stew.
Established in 2005 by husband and wife Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, with Mike Sullivan in the role of co-owner, winemaker, and manager of all things from soil to cork, Benovia Winery covers more than 71 acres across three estate vineyards. For Anderson and Dewane, Benovia is home. Their house sits on Benovia’s Cohn Vineyard estate, and the family takes great care of home. That sense of home comes through in every morsel and slurp of Sullivan’s warm and homey cassoulet recipe pairing perfectly with a nice pinot noir.
Benovia Winemaker Mike Sullivan’s Cassoulet
1 pound dried Rancho Gordo Tarbais Beans
½ pound pancetta, chopped
1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces
2 whole Spanish chorizo sausages
4 “confit” duck legs (preserve)
1 leek, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
10 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 pinch laurel
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Soak the dry beans overnight in cold water. Before cooking, drain the beans.
Brown the rabbit and pancetta in a Dutch oven. Remove and let cool. Next, cook the sausages in the Dutch oven. Remove the duck legs from the fat. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees until fat has melted off.
Sauté the vegetables with 5 garlic cloves, thyme, and laurel. Cover with water and cook for 90 minutes. Add the beans and simmer slowly for 1 hour. Add the other 5 crushed garlic cloves, salt, and pepper.
Put the meat, the vegetables, and the beans in a large porcelain baking dish (e.g., Le Creuset) and cook in the oven at 325 degrees for approximately 2 hours or until there is no more liquid in the dish.
Chef’s note: I like to make the cassoulet the day before and reheat to serve the next day.