The way to a lady’s undergarments, says Beckett’s Table chef Justin Beckett, is through a cassoulet. No, really.

“At Beckett’s Table, we are all about bringing the family back together around the dinner table and serving the most inventive comfort foods and classics,” reveals the proprietor of the Phoenix area hotspot. “Cassoulet is a dish that came from humble beginnings as a ‘French country stew.’ The only formidable cook in the cottage would have a caldron-type pot hanging over an open flame with a stew of beans, broth, herbs and whatever bits of tough meat scraps they could muster up.”

“We use tender duck confit, housemade pork sausage, thick cut bacon, slow roasted tomatoes, parsnips and more. So make this French stew for your woman on a cold winter night, paired with a bottle of great French red wine, and who knows? She just might show you her French lingerie.” All you need is an afternoon of preparation and patience. Now, here’s how to get cassoulet-ed! (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

Holiday Cassoulet
Serves 8 to 10
Prep time 1 hour, cook time 3 hours

2 lb pork shoulder diced into 3/4” cubes
1 lb bacon chopped into large pieces
2 lb loose pork sausage pulled apart into pieces
2 lb duck confit pulled apart
2 quarts large white beans (great northern or emergo)
4 large pork hocks
2 large parsnips peeled & medium diced
2 large carrots peeled & medium diced
1 quart mushrooms cleaned & quartered
1 large leek (white part only) washed & sliced
5 large roma tomatoes large diced
1 bunch braising greens washed & trimmed
2 cups white wine
3 quarts pork stock (use chicken stock if pork is not available)
4 large garlic cloves smashed & chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup bread crumbs
duck fat or olive oil for sautéing
salt & pepper season to taste
your favorite hearty crusty bread for dipping

Soak the beans in an oversized container overnight with plenty of cool water. The beans will expand by double so make sure there is enough water.

Place a bit of fat or oil in a very hot large soup pot (or rondeau), sear the pork shoulder on high till caramelized brown on all sides. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the wine. Add in the bacon, pork hocks, white beans (drained of all soaking liquid), pork stock, garlic and herbs. Cover and let simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Add in the sausage and vegetables and continue to cook uncovered for another hour to hour and a half. Make sure to stir occasionally so that the beans do not stick. You want the liquid to reduce but not so far that the items stick to the bottom of the pot. Once beans are tender and liquid has reduced, remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve each bowl and top with bread crumbs. This dish is classically served with crusty bread for dipping.

Like most stews, this will have the best well-rounded flavors after letting it sit overnight in refrigeration. To re-heat the next day simply place the stew in a large pot and heat on low while stirring often. Enjoy!