Monday, September 13, 2010


So I have to preface this recipe with  an admission.  This isn't real cassoulet.  Or at least it isn't traditional French cassoulet (a thick bean stew/casserole containing pork sausages, other cuts of pork, duck and white beans).  Or at least this isn't that similar to the French cassoulet that my host family used to make for me when I lived in France.  This is my version of cassoulet, based on whatever we had in the fridge and/or the pantry, which in this case was 2 legs of duck confit, 4 pork sausages of some sort (we got a Grilling Spectacular package from Dickson's Farmstand a few months ago, which contained 3 different varieties of pork sausage, none of which were labeled), and one lb. of dried white coco beans (which it turns out are traditionally used in cassoulet).  We also threw in some onions, carrots, fresh herbs, red wine, San Marzano tomatoes, and then topped the whole mess with panko bread crumbs.  I really wanted to add some fresh parsley, but unfortunately we were all out.

So this recipe might not be your traditional cassoulet, but it was close enough.  And it was yummy.  This is the type of warm, filling, and comforting dish that would be perfect after a long day of skiing or any other cold weather activity.  Alex and I both gave it a solid B, even though it was more suitable for 40 degree weather than the current temps in the mid-60s.  I really wish that we had some fresh parsley to mix in with the breadcrumbs to lighten things up a touch, and I also wish that the breadcrumbs had formed a better crust on top.  Otherwise, I thought it was a fairly lovely and hearty dish.

Recipe after the jump!


2 tbsp evoo
4 pork sausages, pierced a few times each with a fork to let the juices out
1 large yellow onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 leeks, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into thin rings, well-rinsed
2 legs duck confit
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh sage (about 5 leaves)
1 28-oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes, roughly crushed by hand
1 lb. dried coco beans (or other white beans), soaked overnight and drained
3/4 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Heat evoo in a large Le Creuset over medium heat.  Add sausages and brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove sausages from the pot.  Add onions, carrots, and garlic.  Cook onions, carrots and garlic until onions are softened and become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Return sausage to the pot, then add duck confit.  Add tomato paste and herbs.  Stir to combine.  Add San Marzano tomatoes, beans, red wine, 1 tbsp kosher salt, and enough water to just cover the beans.

Cover pot and place in the oven.  Cook cassoulet in the oven until the beans are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Check the cassoulet halfway through to determine if you need to add more water.  After you remove from the oven, remove the herbs and season to taste with s&p.  Top with panko bread crumbs, drizzle with butter, and return to oven.  Bake until bread crumbs are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

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