Cassoulet (ka-soo-LAY) is a classic French dish consisting of white beans and a variety of meats—sausage, pork, duck, or goose. The combinations varies according to the region. Lamb and kielbasa are used in this version.
Rinse beans; place in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet brown lamb in hot oil. Drain off fat. In a 3 ½ to 5 quart slow cooker combine the beans, lamb, broth, kielbasa, fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme (if using), garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
If using low heat setting, turn to high heat setting. Stir in the eggplant, sweet pepper, and tomato paste. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. Discard bay leaf. If using, stir in fresh thyme. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. If desired, serve over hot cooked rice.
Prep: 25 minutes.
Stand: 1 hour.
Cook: LOW 8 to 10 hours, HIGH 4 to 5 hours plus 30 minutes.