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FRENCH STYLE CASSEROLE WITH BEANS, DUCK, SAUSAGE AND HERBS; CASSOULET, FRANCE

White Beans (Haricot Tarbais)

White Beans (Haricot Tarbais)

Duck Legs Confit, Duck Fat, Toulouse Sausage

Duck Legs Confit, Duck Fat, Toulouse Sausage

Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic

Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic

Bay Leaves, Thyme, Sea Salt, Black Pepper

Bay Leaves, Thyme, Sea Salt, Black Pepper

Ingredients

Dried White Beans (Haricot Tarbais) – 1 ½ pound (680 grams)

Duck Legs Confit – 2 pieces

Fresh Toulouse Sausage – 4 pieces

Tomatoes – 4 medium size

Onion – 1 medium size

Garlic – 4 large cloves

Water – 6 cups (1420ml)

Thyme – 3 sprigs

Fresh Bay Leaves – 3 leaves

Duck Fat – 2 tablespoons

Freshly Ground Black Pepper – 2 teaspoons

Sea Salt – 2 teaspoons

Cassoulet – In the South of France, the traditions of home cooking are well preserved.  The Cassoulet, a traditional French style casserole, is a hearty dish of white beans, meats and herbs slow-cooked together for a few hours.  The French cities of Castelnaudary, Carcassonne and Toulouse are considered the inventors of the traditional cassoulet, with each place having its own authentic recipe.  After sampling different cassoulets in France, we prefer our recipe that captures the natural taste of the French style ingredients, fresh herbs and vegetables.  The Haricot Tarbais (D’Allesandro Gourmet Ingredients), the white beans cultivated in the South of France, are the main ingredient of cassoulet with creamy texture, thin skin and delicate flavor.  We choose the Toulouse Sausage, the fresh pork sausage originally from the southwest of France, produced by Fabrique Délices (a producer of artisanal charcuterie in the USA).We select the Duck Fat and the Duck Leg Confit, produced by Les Trois Petits Cochons (an artisan charcuterie producer in New York City).  For our recipe, we purchase the above mentioned premium quality products in the online store igourmet.com.  Our cassoulet is richly flavored and very tasty.

Sautéed Duck Legs Confit, Toulouse Sausage

Sautéed Duck Legs Confit, Toulouse Sausage

Soaked Beans (Haricot Tarbais)

Soaked Beans (Haricot Tarbais)

Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

Cassoulet

Cassoulet

Preparation Method

Step 1 – Soak the beans in the water overnight (the water level needs to be a few inches above the beans).  In a large cast iron Dutch Oven, combine the fresh water, drained beans, fresh thyme sprigs, bay leaves and halved onion.  Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour (the water level needs to be a few inches above the beans).  Remove the onion, bay leaves and thyme.  Drain the boiled beans and reserve the cooking liquid.

Step 2 – In the skillet, sauté the sausages in the duck fat until browned and set aside.  Place the duck legs confit skin down, sauté until the skin becomes crispy and set aside.     

Step 3 – In the electric mixer, combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt and black pepper, then puree until the texture is smooth.  Combine this tomato mixture with the reserved cooking liquid and the remaining duck fat from the skillet, and set aside.

Step 4 – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In the enamel cast iron casserole dish assemble the cassoulet: place the duck legs confit and the sausages at the bottom of the casserole, cover the meat with the beans and pour evenly the tomato mixture on top.  Place the cover or the foil tightly over the casserole dish and bake for 2 to 2 ½ hours.  After 1 hour of baking, add a bit of water if needed to ensure the cassoulet has some moisture.

Step 5 – Remove the cassoulet from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes.  Plate the individual portions to include beans, a sausage and a piece of duck meat.  Enjoy the hearty cassoulet.

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