An avid hunter, this reader devised this stew to showcase his catch which is usually duck. We found a combination of chicken and supermarket duck a fine substitute, or use all chicken. Make this a day ahead to allow the flavors to blossom and so you can skim the fat from the top. Use reserved Crisp Croutons to top the stew.
1 pound dried cranberry, Great Northern, or navy beans
11 cups water, divided
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) chopped peeled rutabaga or turnip
3 cups (1-inch) cubed red or Yukon gold potato
3 cups quartered cremini or button mushrooms (about 1/2 pound)
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 (5 3/4- to 6 1/4-pound) dressed domestic duck, fresh or thawed
2 chicken drumsticks (about 3/4 pound)
2 chicken thighs (about 3/4 pound)
9 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage or smoked turkey and duck sausages (such as Gerhard's)
3 cups Cabernet or other dry red wine, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried summer savory
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 (14 1/4-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
Sort and wash beans, and place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans, and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain the beans, and place beans in pan. Add 8 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover and cook 1 hour or until just slightly firm. Drain and set aside.
Place 3 cups water in a large stockpot; bring to a boil. Add rutabaga, and cook 5 minutes. Add the potato, mushrooms, onion, carrot, and celery, and return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until crisp-tender. Set aside (do not drain).
Remove and discard giblets and neck from duck. Rinse duck with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Cut duck into 8 pieces. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add duck pieces; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until well browned. Remove from pan. Add chicken pieces; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until well browned. Remove from pan. Add sausage; sauté 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan, and let cool. Slice sausage into 18 (1-inch) pieces.
Carefully add 1/4 cup wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits, and add pan drippings to stockpot with vegetables. Add the beans, duck, chicken, sausage, 2 3/4 cups wine, chopped parsley, vinegar, savory, thyme, salt, pepper, and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Cover stew, and chill 8 to 24 hours.
Skim solidified fat from surface; discard. Reheat over medium heat; stirring often to prevent scorching. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Sprinkle stew with Crisp Croutons, and garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.