1lb. dried white beans, soaked for 8 hours or overnight, and drained
10 c. chicken broth or stock
2 ham hocks or hambone
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. chopped fresh or dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 lbs. boneless venison, cut into bite size cubes
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. oil or as needed
1/2 c. celery chopped
1/2 c. carrots chopped or sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound smoked sausage sliced into 1 inch pieces
2 c. dried bread crumbs
8 tbsp / 1 stick unsalted butter melted
1/2 c. grated parmigiano cheese
2 egg yolks
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large, heavy pot, combine the beans and ham bone with 8 cups of chicken broth, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1 tablespoon thyme, and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender, about 45 min. to an hour. Skim any foam off the surface. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid, and discard the bay leaves.
Preheat the oven to 375. Season the venison with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Reserve the flour. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over a medium heat, then brown the venison on all sides, taking care to not burn and making sure there is enough oil in the pan. Remove and place on paper towels to drain and cool.
Cook the remaining onion and time with the celery, carrot, salt, and cayenne until the veggies are softened. Place the sausage and a teaspoon of garlic in the pot and cook for 2 min. giving it an occasional stir. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved flour and stir constantly, for about 10 min., intil the flour darkens to a light brown color. Whisk the 2 cups of chicken stock and the reserved cooking liquid from the beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 min. Combine evenly with the venison, the reserved meat from the ham bone and the beans.
In a blender, pulse the bread crumbs, melted butter, cheese, egg yolks, salt and pepper until well blended. Spread the mixture over the cassoulet and bake until the crust is golden, about 35 min.