A hearty bean and meat dish from southwest France.
Preparation Time30 min
Cooking MethodBaking, Roasting
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party
Recipe CourseMain Course
Taste and TextureMeaty, Rich, Savory
Type of DishCasserole
- 2 cups dried Great Northern beans
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 Italian pork sausages
- 9 oz (250g) pancetta, diced
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 duck legs
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3½ cups hot water
- One 14.5 oz (411g) can chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- Large flameproof casserole
Place the beans in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 in (2.5cm). Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 2-3 hours. Drain.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook for 7–8 minutes, until browned. Transfer to a plate. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, until browned. Transfer to the sausages. Add the onions and carrot and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside for 1 minute.
Preheat the oven 425°F (220°C). Prick the duck skin all over with a fork and put on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the duck to the sausages and reserve 2 tbsp of the fat in the pan. Reduce the oven temp to 275°F (140°C).
In a large flameproof casserole, layer half the beans, the onions and carrot, sausages, pancetta, duck legs, thyme, and bay leaves, followed by the remaining beans.
Dissolve the tomato paste in the hot water, then stir in the tomatoes and their juices and the wine. Pour over the beans. Cover and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and uncover. The cassoulet should be thick, but moist. Taste and season with salt and pepper and add a little hot water, if needed. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour more.
To make the topping, mix the bread crumbs and garlic. Heat the reserved duck fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the crumbs and cook, stirring often, about 7 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stir in the parsley. Remove the cassoulet from the oven and stir. Sprinkle the bread crumb topping over in a thick, even layer, and serve hot.
2008 Dorling Kindersley