Tony's Cassoulet

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READY IN: 6hrs
Recipe by StevenHB

Adapted from Bourdain and Ruhlman

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Use 1100 grams of beans. See Tony's Duck Confit (http://www.food.com/recipe/tony-s-duck-confit-523817).
  2. Day One:.
  3. Place the beans in the large bowl and cover with cold water so that there are at least 2 or 3 inches of water above the top of the beans. Soak overnight.
  4. Day Two:.
  5. Drain and rinse the beans and place in the large pot. Add the pork belly, the quartered onion, 1/4 pound/112 g of the pork rind, and the bouquet garni. Cover with water, add salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about an hour. Let cool for 20 minutes, then discard the onion and the bouquet garni. Remove the pork belly, cut it into 2-inch/5-cm squares, and set aside. (If you plan to wait another day before finishing the dish, wait to cut the pork belly until then.) Strain the beans and the rind and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid separately.
  6. In the saute pan, heat all but 1 tablespoon/14 g of the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers and becomes transparent. Carefully add the sausages and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside, draining on paper towels. In the same pan, over medium-high heat, brown the sliced onions, the garlic and the reserved squares of pork rind from the beans (not the unused pork rind; you'll need that later). Once browned, remove from the heat and transfer to the blender. Add 1 tablespoon/14 g of the remaining duck fat and puree until smooth. Set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F/180°C Place the uncooked pork rind in the bottom of a deep ovenproof earthenware dish (I used a Le Creuset enameled steel dutch oven with a true capacity of about 6 quarts - I measured. It was too small and I needed to move some to a small dutch oven. This volume of ingredients probably requires 8 or 9 quarts of true capacity). You're looking to line the inside, almost like a pie crust. Arrange all your ingredients in alternating layers, beginning with a layer of beans, then sausages, then more beans, then pork belly, beans, duck confit and finally more beans, adding a dab of the onion and pork rind puree between each layer (don't get fancy. Just pile, dab, stack and pile. It doesn't have to be pretty). Add enough of the bean cooking liquid to just cover the beans, reserving 1 cup/225 ml in the refrigerator for later use. Cook the cassoulet in the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 250F/130C and cook for another hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.
  8. Day Three:.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C again.
  10. I removed the pork rind, cut it into pieces, slicing some in half to make it thinner, and cooked it slowly in a saute pan to make some cracklings that I then chopped into 1/4-1/2" pieces and used them to garnish the cassoulet along with some toasted garlic breadcrumbs. The bit of crunch was a good addition.
  11. Cook the cassoulet for an hour (or longer - this step probably required 90 minutes to get the cassoulet from refrigerator cold to hot). Break the crust on the top with the spoon and add 1/4 cup/56 ml of the reserved cooking liquid. Reduce the heat to 250F/130C and continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until screamingly hot through and through. Then serve.

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