Thanksgiving Casserole with Pinto Beans, Duck, Lamb, Sausage, Bison and Kale


By Jesse Griffiths
Photography by Jenna Noel

Fairly difficult

Thanksgiving Casserole with Pinto Beans, Duck, Lamb, Sausage, Bison and Kale


For 8 Person(s)


  • 1 pounds dried pinto beans, soak in water for 24 hours; drain
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Countryside Farm duck legs (substitute turkey, chicken or goose legs)
  • 1 package Loncito’s lamb necks or shanks
  • 2 packages of Thunder Heart Bison short ribs (substitute beef short ribs)
  • 1 package Full Quiver kielbasa (or a smoked pork or venison sausage)
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) Texas Olive Ranch olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled and left whole
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 cups white wine
  • 2 Boggy Creek smoke-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cups unsulfured molasses or Steen’s Pure Cane Syrup
  • 6 cups dinosaur or other kale, sliced
  • 1 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 lemon, zested

Thanksgiving Casserole with Pinto Beans, Duck, Lamb, Sausage, Bison and Kale Directions

  1. The day before making the casserole, season the duck legs, lamb necks and short ribs with salt, and soak the beans in water, overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the soaked beans, and cover with two quarts of fresh water. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  3. On the stovetop, using a large, ovenproof casserole dish, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Working in small batches, brown the duck legs (skin side only), then brown the lamb necks and short ribs (add additional olive oil as needed). As the pieces brown, remove them to a bowl. Brown the sausages on both sides, then cut in half and add to the bowl.
  5. Add the sliced onions and garlic cloves to the casserole dish, lightly salt and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until the onions soften.
  6. Add the thyme and bay leaf and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Cut the tomatoes from the stem downward and grate them on a cheese grater to produce a coarse puree (stop grating when you reach the skin).
  8. Add the tomato puree, smoke-dried tomatoes and molasses and cook until they begin sticking to the dish, 3–4 minutes.
  9. Add the wine, beans and bean liquid, and bring to a boil. Season with more salt and pepper.
  10. Add the kale and all of the meats, placing the duck legs (skin side up) and sausages on the top.
  11. Carefully transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 3–3½ hours or until the beans and meats are tender (check often and add *hot* water if things start to dry out—the beans should always be just submerged in liquid).
  12. While baking, turn the exposed meats on the top (especially the skin side of the duck legs), allowing them to brown and glaze with the juices from the braising beans.
  13. Once cooked, remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to come to room temperature before refrigerating overnight.
  14. The next day, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. To simplify serving, cut the meats into smaller pieces, removing any bones.
  15. Preheat the oven to 350°. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and zest over the top, drizzle the remaining olive oil and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until browned and heated throughout.
  16. Serve with a simple arugula salad dressed with olive oil and tossed with some pickled onions (recipe follows).

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