Cassoulet is a French-style, rich, slow-cooked casserole typically containing pork and white beans and often confit duck. Originating in southern France, it is named after its traditional cooking pot, the casserole, but it can also be cooked in a cocotte.
This recipe calls for cured pork bork belly, pork rind and duck confit. A good butcher should be able to order those in for you or they now more easily accessible to order online. My husband typically makes cured pork belly, so if you'd like to have a go at making cured pork belly yourself, send me a message on Instagram or email me 🙂
2 duck confits, with fat and glace gently scraped off but reserved in separate bowls Vegetable oil 2 oz. pork rind, finely chopped 9 oz. cured pork belly ½ litre homemade chicken stock (or a very good shop-bought version with low or no salt) ½ can chopped tomatoes 1 onion, finely diced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp. tomato purée 8 oz. Toulouse or garlic sausages, cut in half 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 3 oz. diced carrots, pre-boiled and drained 2 bay leaves, lightly crushed ¼ tsp. sage ¼ tsp. thyme ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper Lemon juice or red wine vinegar, to taste Salt, to taste
To garnish and serve 4 cherries tomatoes, cut in halves Lemon juice or red wine vinegar, to taste Chopped fresh coriander
Preheat the oven to 150º C. Line a baking sheet with foil or baking paper. Place the slides of bread on the baking sheet and bake in the top part of the oven for 10 minutes on each side or until they become completely dry and stiff. Set aside to cool completely. Use a food processor to bread the bread down into bread crumbs.
Heat 1 ½ tsp oil in a medium-sized pan over a high heat. Minding how hot the pot and oil will be, carefully add the pork rind and stir frequently until it becomes crispy. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the cured pork belly.
Once the pork belly is browned all over, pour in the chicken stock ensuring to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
Next stir in the chopped tomatoes along with a little water if the stew is dry. Cover again and leave to simmer for another 30 minutes or until the pork belly just becomes tender.
In a medium-large sized cocotte or cast-iron casserole pot, add 2 tbsp. duck fat from the duck confit plus 1 tsp. oil. Place over a medium heat. Once the fats are heated, stir in the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add the all the contents from the pan with the stewed pork, the duck glace and the tomato purée. Stir well then remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 200º C.
Next, brown the sausages in a shallow frying pan (greased with a little oil) on a medium-high heat. Transfer the sausages into the casserole pot along with any of the juices.
Put back on a simmer to cook the sausages through and reduce the liquid if necessary. At this stage also add the beans, carrots and the rest of the seasoning. Add a little water if the stew is dry. The consistency should resemble a thick stew.
Taste and add a little acidity from the lemon if required or add more salt if necessary.
While the stew is simmering, Brown the duck legs in a shallow frying pan over a medium heat and to help remove the excess fat.
Randomly place the cherries tomatoes on top of the cassoulet. Next, position the duck legs on top, sprinkle the bread crumbs and bake in the top section of the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the bread crumbs turn golden.
Serve at table, portioning the duck meat for your dinner guests. Sprinkle some coriander on each plate and enjoy!