Cook this cassoulet low and slow, and you’ll find that the longer it cooks, the better it tastes, making it suited either to a luxurious braise in a Dutch Oven, or a slow cooker, if you have one. Make it in advance, and it tastes even better the next day.
1/4cupchopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantroplus more for garnish
In a large bowl, soak the black eyed peas in about 8 cups of cool water overnight. Rinse and drain.
Season the pork shoulder pieces generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven, large pot, or insert of a slow cooker over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and brown the pancetta. Scoop out the pancetta with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Add the panko breadcrumbs, and stir until toasted and golden brown, and it has absorbed the flavor from the oil. Set this aside as well.
Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the pot and raise the heat to medium-high. Brown the pieces of pork shoulder on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium-low, then add the onions and leeks and cook until they are limp. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in the wine, and let the liquid cook until it is reduced by half, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, chicken broth and bay leaf. Return the pork to the pot, along with the drained black eyed peas, and nestle the sausage and garlic. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 3 hours, or until the pork is fork tender. Shred the pork and skim any fat from the top of the pot. Stir in sherry vinegar, reserved pancetta, 1 cup of the toasted breadcrumbs and parsley (or cilantro). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve hot, with fresh bread, and garnished with additional breadcrumbs and herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil, if you wish.