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Sen. Franken’s Willmar Stew

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(credit: Sen. Al Franken)

(credit: Sen. Al Franken)

Recipe from Al. Franken’s website

This is a hearty meal, just the right dish to serve with salad, beer, bread, and a Vikings game.

5 or 7 quart dutch oven
2 lbs Cannelini beans, soaked over night
2 Jennie-O turkey thighs (can substitute 4 duck legs, 4 pheasant legs/thighs)
1 lb pork shoulder roast cut into 1″ cubes
4 pork sausages
1 lb thick bacon cut into 1″ cubes
3 TBS butter
3 TBS olive oil
1 large onion cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 carrots cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 stalks celery cut into 1/2′ piece
1 whole garlic head, peeled into individual cloves and slices in halves
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh parsley or equivalent
4 sprigs fresh thyme or equivalent
3 TBS tomato paste
1 to 1 & 1/2 cups peeled tomatoes with liquid, cut into quarters
Salt & pepper to taste
optional: paprika and cayenne pepper
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
6 TBS butter

1. Soak the beans overnight in water, about 2″ above beans. Drain, reserving any left over liquid. Set aside.
2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
3. Prep your meat and vegetable as above. Set aside.
4. Place dutch oven on top of stove. Add 3 TBS butter and 3 TBS in pot. Brown turkey. Set aside. Brown pork shoulder cubes in same fat. Set aside. Drain some of the fat and set aside. Brown pork sausages. Set aside. Render bacon. Set aside. If too much fat has accumulated, pour some off at any time but retain for assembling dish.
5. Put all meats, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and seasonings in same fat mixture. Stir and cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and tomatoes and beans. Add water until ingredients are covered. Bring to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and place in oven at 400 degrees. Cook for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours, until beans are tender. Check pot after 45 minutes in case mixture is dry so you can add water. When done, add the paprika and cayenne to taste.
6. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Add bread crumbs in two batches, otherwise they will be soggy. Sprinkle 1 cup bread crumbs drizzled with 3 TBS melted butter. Put in oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Take pot out and press breadcrumbs into stew. Add the other cup of bread crumbs and 3 more TBS melted butter. Turn oven on broil and brown breadcrumbs for 5 to 7 minutes. Your dish is now ready to serve.

* as adapted from The Amateur Gourmet, Cassoulet in 10 Easy Steps

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