Cassoulet is a dish that takes time and attention — but don’t let that intimidate you. This rich dish of southern France, particularly the Languedoc region, can be made in a single pot, and it’s hearty flavors are perfect for colder weather. While cassoulet is named after a particular dish, specifically a slanted earthenware pot, it can be made in other dishes as well. In its simplest form, it’s a meal of meat and beans, but this modern recipe from Chef Peter, of our culinary vacation The New Provence: Cooking in the Languedoc, proves its so much more than that. Plus, it takes less time than the traditional cassoulet, too.
- 3 confit duck legs
- 200 grams (7 oz) pork confit (or smoked bacon lardons)
- 300 grams (10 1/2 oz) Toulouse sausage
- 500 grams (1 lb. 1 oz) dried lingot beans
- 50 grams (1 3/4 oz) duck or goose fat
- Gesiers of duck
- 2 onions, sliced and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 800 grams (1 lb. 3 3/4 oz) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped (Chef Peter recommends using canned plum tomatoes)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp Harissa
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 60 grams (2 oz) dried breadcrumbs
- 25 grams (1 oz) parsley, chopped
- 100 ml (3 1/2 fl. oz) white wine
- 100 ml (3 1/2 fl. oz) chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
1. Soak the lingot beans in cold water overnight.
2. Place the beans in a saucepan; cover with cold water. After bringing them to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt, and cook another hour, or until “al dente.”
3. Cut sausage into 2 cm pieces, and then put in a frying pan along with the pork and duck fat. Fry this mixture until it’s nicely browned, and then remove it from the pan and set aside.
4. Using the same pan, sweat both the onion and garlic in the residual fat.
5. Slowly heat the gesiers and confit for about 15 minutes. Pour off the fat, and then remove both the skin and bones. Set aside.
6. Put the onions and garlic, along with the tomatoes, tomato puree, Harissa, thyme, white wine, and stock, into a large saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
7. Drain the beans and place them in a large dish. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the parsley and breadcrumbs) and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning according to your own taste. Put this mixture in a large earthenware dish, or smaller, individual dishes.
8. Mix the parsley and breadcrumbs, and then sprinkle on the top.
9. Bake for 30 minutes until the cassoulet is crispy and bubbling.