It can be put together in a day, but dinner might be pretty late so it's best to break it up over two or three days. The three main steps are: cooking the beans, cooking the pork, and baking the cassoulet.
1) Day 1: cook the beans and season the meat (sorry, canned beans won't work here):
Sprinkle salt and pepper over 1 to 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder. (Buy 2 pounds total of meat, either 1 pound each pork shoulder and sausage, or 1.5 pounds pork and 1/2 pound sausage). Wrap back up and put in the fridge.
For the beans, you'll need 1 lb flageolet or navy beans, 3/4 tsp salt, a few sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf, a small shallot, and 1 or 2 garlic cloves. You can wrap up the seasonings in a little cheesecloth, or just plan to fish them out one by one.
If you use the Instant Pot, cover the beans with another inch or so of water. Set the pot on high for 21 minutes for flageolet beans or 20 for navy beans, which are a little smaller but a lot cheaper. Let the pressure release naturally for another 15-20 minutes, then release any remaining pressure with the valve and put the beans and their liquid in something to store them in the fridge overnight.
You can also soak the beans overnight and simmer them for about 45 minutes, or cook them from dried for about 2 hours.
2) Day 2 (or do Day 1 and keep in fridge): Brown and/or cook the meats
For this step you'll need, in addition to the pork and sausage mentioned above, 4 oz diced pancetta, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 yellow onion or 3 shallots, 1 small celery stalk, 2 small or 1 medium carrots, and 2 Roma tomatoes.
...and beautifully brown here.
Add the sausages in to brown those on two sides. You don't need to cook them through because they'll finish up in the final, lengthy, baking.
Remove and set aside. Put the shallots, carrots, and celery in the pot and stir with a wooden spoon to move around and scrape up the brown stuff from the bottom. When the vegetables start to soften, add in 1 cup chicken broth (or water, or white wine). Stir a little more, then add the tomatoes and pork. If there's a bone, add that, too. Close the lid and set IP for 25 minutes high pressure. Once it finishes the time, allow another 15-20 minutes for the pressure to release naturally. If you release the pressure right away, the meat will be tough.
You can let the meat cool, refrigerate it and assemble the next day, or you can get to step three now.
3) Day 2 or 3: Assemble and bake...aka le douleur exquise...the waiting can be HARD!
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