Traditional French Cassoulet

Serves 4. I thought I would pass this along while we're still in the depths of Winter. Especially since this is one of my favorite comfort foods.  As you might expect, I've swapped bread crumbs for our delicious little morsels for this hearty French dish. 

For the bean and vegetable base:
  • 400 grams dried cannellini or navy beans soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 pound uncut bacon
  • 20 grams goose or duck fat
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled but not chopped
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage
  • 2 peeled plum tomatoes (fresh or canned), cut into eighths
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 1 clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
To assemble the cassoulet:
  • 4 duck confit legs
  • 40 grams duck fat
  • 50 grams Margot's Morsels Killer Garlic, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, to serve

Drain the beans that have been soaked overnight, discarding the water, and place them in a large Dutch oven. Cut the bacon into lardons and add to the beans. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil for 15 to 20 minutes and drain the beans and lardons in a colander in the sink discarding the cooking water. Set aside and heat the oven to 250° F.

Return the Dutch oven to the stove over medium-low heat. Add the goose or duck fat and sweat the vegetables for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bouquet garni and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sausage along with the beans and lardons and pour in 2 pints water or just enough to barely cover the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil, skim off the froth that rises to the surface, then add the salt, pepper, clove, and lemon juice.

Move the pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring once, half-way through. After two hours the beans will be creamy in texture and some of the water will have evaporated leaving the liquid thickened. If this is not the case then place back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven. Bury the duck legs in the beans and sprinkle over the duck fat, morsel crumbs, and garlic. Return it to the oven and cook for 2 more hours.

Serve in a shallow, large bowl with one duck leg in each bowl and a large serving of the beans and vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with a rustic French Burgundy wine. Heavenly!

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