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Duck Cassoulet

Serves: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 confit duck legs, plus 2 tablespoons of the confit fat
  • 1 lb 2 oz boned pork shoulder or belly pork, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 Toulouse or garlic-flavored sausages
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

  • For the beans:
  • 1 lb 2 oz dried white haricot beans
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 9 oz unsmoked bacon (in one piece with the fat)
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and halved
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves


Procedures:

Cassoulet is a hearty bean-based dish that originates from the south of France. There are numerous local variations, but the main ingredients usually consist of beans, pork and sausage.

Please the beans in a bowl and cover with cold water so that it comes 1½ inches above the beans. Leave to soak overnight.

Drain the beans and place in the French oven. Stick the cloves into the onion and add it to the beans along with the bacon, carrot, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid and discarding the bacon, onion, and carrot. Wash and dry the French oven.

Heat the duck fat in the French oven, add the pork, and cook until browned. Set aside on a plate. Add the sausages and cook until browned. Cut them in half and set aside with the pork. Cook the onions and garlic in the duck fat until soft, and add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Return the pork and sausage to the pan. Season the bean-cooking liquid with salt and pepper, stir in the tomato paste, and pour over the meat. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove the pork and sausages from the French oven with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Pour the liquid into a jug. Place a third of the beans in the bottom of the French oven with 2 pieces of duck. Cover with half the pork and sausages. Top with a third more beans and then a final layer of pork and sausages followed by the remaining beans and duck.

Pour the liquid into the French oven. It should come just up to the top the beans. Add a little water, if necessary. Sprinkle half the breadcrumbs over the surface and cook in the oven for 1 hour.

Push the layer of breadcrumbs into the French oven and sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs on top. Cook in the oven for a further 30 minutes until golden on top.

Cooking Tip: Duck confit can be bought ready prepared in jars or cans. Alternatively, you can make it at home by slow cooking duck legs in goose fat.

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