Prep 2 hrs
Cook 48 hrs
This is delicious for a cold winter's night. It is not hard to make, but it does involve a few time consuming steps. I usually spread these steps out over 2 or three days, but you could make the whole dish in one day, if you wish. A few notes on ingredients: For the duck confit, you can either make your own, Duck Confit , or you can buy it pre made. For the sausages - the traditional sausage for cassoulet is Toulouse sausage, but any good garlicky pork sausage will do. I have used Andouille with good results. The traditional beans for cassoulet are Haricots Blancs or Lingots, but if you cannot find either of these you can substitute Great Northern, Marrow, or Navy beans. I also highly recommend using low sodium chicken stock, or the end result could be too salty. The instructions I give here are for my 2-day method: I cook the cassoulet, then let it rest in the fridge overnight, then re-heat it the next day for serving. Cassoulet always tastes better the next day, so I just don't serve mine until the next day! ;) However, if you don't want to bother with that, you can just serve it after you have gratineed the second crust.
FOR THE BEANS AND SAUSAGE
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 lb French haricots vert, blancs
- 1⁄2 lb lean salt pork, in one piece
- 1⁄2 lb garlic pork sausage
- 1 small peeled onion
- 1⁄2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
FOR THE BOQUET GARNI
- 1 piece cheesecloth, 12 inches square
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 stalks celery & leaves
- 1 leek, white part
- 2 bay leaves
- 20 whole cloves
FOR THE PORK AND LAMB
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄2 lb pork loin, cut in 2 inch chunks
- 1⁄2 lb lamb shoulder, cut in 2 inch chunks
- 1⁄2 cup onion, diced
- 1⁄2 cup celery, diced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 legs duck confit
- 3⁄4 cup fine dry breadcrumb
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons duck fat or 2 tablespoons goose fat or 2 tablespoons melted butter
- FOR THE BEANS AND SAUSAGE:.
- In a heavy 4 to 6 quart pot or soup kettle, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Drop the beans in and boil them briskly for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Meanwhile, simmer the salt pork in 1 quart of water for 15 minutes; drain and set aside.
- With the point of a sharp knife, pierce 5 or 6 holes in the sausage; then add the sausage & salt pork to the beans. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Tie the parsley, celery tops, leek, bay leaves and cloves tightly in the cheesecloth, and add to the beans, along with the onion, 1/2 teaspoon garlic & 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Reduce the heat and simmer ncovered for 45 minutes, adding stock or water if needed.
- With tongs, transfer the sausage to a plate and set it aside. Cook the beans and salt pork for another 30 or 40 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
- Remove the salt pork from the beans, pare off the skin and discard the skin. Set aside the salt pork on the same plate as the sausages.
- Drain the beans, RESERVING THE BROTH IN WHICH THEY WERE COOKED. Discard the onion and the boquet garni. Degrease the stock and taste for seasoning. Set the stock aside.
- FOR THE PORK AND LAMB:.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees . In a heavy 10 to 12 inch skillet, brown the pork and lamb in the olive oil over medium heat. When the meat is a rich brown on all sides, transfer it with tongs to a dutch oven.
- Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet and saute the onions over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the celery and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Pour in the wine, bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the mixture has been reduced by half. With a rubber spatula, scrape the contents of the skillet into the dutch oven with the meat. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, salt & pepper to the dutch oven, and stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture in the dutch oven to a boil on the top of the stove, cover, and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
- Transfer the meat to the same plate with the sausage & salt pork.
- Strain the liquid the meat was braised in, pressing on the vegetables to release their juice. Discard the vegetables.
- Degrease the braising liquid and add to the reserved bean stock.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the sausage into 1/4 inch slices. Remove the skin from the duck confit and pull all the meat from the bones. Discard the skin and bones (you can leave the skin on if you want, but I think it makes it too fatty -- ). Cut the duck into 1 inch pieces. Cut the salt pork into 1 inch pieces.
- Combine the duck, sausage, salt pork, pork & lamb.
- Spread a 1 inch layer of the beans on the bottom of a large dutch oven. Spread half the meat mixture over these beans, top with another 1 inch layer of beans and the remaining meat mixture, ending with a final layer of beans.
- Pour the reserved bean stock/ braising liquid over the beans until it almost covers them (if there isn't enough stock, you can add chicken stock or water to make up the difference).
- Mix together the bread crumbs and parsley, and spread over the top of the cassoulet. Pour the 2 tablespoons duck fat, goose fat, or melted butter on top of the parsley/crumb mixture.
- Bring the casserole to a boil on top of the stove, then bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 and 1/4 hours, or until the crumbs have formed a firm, brown crust.
- Push the crust down into the cassoulet, bringing more fresh beans & meat to the top.
- Place the casserole under the broiler and broil until the top is brown and crusty.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. Push the second crust down into the cassoulet. Cover and refrigerate.
- The day you want to serve the cassoulet, bake in the oven, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then remove the cover and broil the top until it is brown and crusty.