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Slow-Cooker Cassoulet

 1/2 pound small white beans, like pea or navy
 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic
 1 medium-large onion, chopped
 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
 2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes, with their juice (canned are fine)
 3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme or  1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
 2 bay leaves
 1/4 pound slab bacon or salt pork, in 1 piece
 4 sweet Italian sausages, about  3/8 pound
 1 pound boneless pork shoulder
 2 duck legs
 Chicken, beef or vegetable stock, or water, or a mixture, as needed
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
 1 cup plain bread crumbs, optional
 Chopped fresh parsley for garnish.

1. Combine beans, crushed garlic, onion, carrots, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves
    and meats in a slow cooker, and turn heat to high. (If you like, brown sausage
    and duck legs in a skillet before adding.) Add stock or water to cover by 2 inches.
    Cover and cook until beans and meats are tender, 5 hours on high heat, 7 hours
    or more on low.

2. When done, add salt and pepper to taste, along with minced garlic. If you like,
    remove cassoulet from slow cooker, and place in a deep casserole; cover with
    bread crumbs and roast at 400F degrees until bread crumbs brown, about 15 minutes.
    Garnish and serve.


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