Cassoulet is a dish cooked in the winter in southwest France. It is a winter dish because it is very hearty and uses preserved meats such as sausages and duck confit cooked with white beans called flageolet. Since cassoulet is a traditional peasant dish, there is no need to buy fancy imported ingredients. Serve it with a green salad, plenty of red table wine, and a simple dessert such as poached oranges.–Mary Risley
Cassoulet of White Beans, Sausage, and Duck
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 3 H, 30 M
- Serves 12
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Recipe Testers Reviews
I went through a trial run of this cassoulet, then made it again to serve to weekend guests at our country home. This is just the best comfort food, and my guests couldn’t stop praising it.
There were some changes I made so it work better us the second time. We made our own duck confit, as it’s impossible to find it in this small community. However, most city folk would probably buy it ready made. To control what went in it, we used our own sausage as well. We made the dish over a period of several days so that we could assemble it the day our friends were here and not spend all day in the kitchen.
We made the beans first, soaking them overnight and preparing them the next day. We used cranberry beans the second time and found they held their shape beautifully and were creamy and nice to look at in the final dish. We also boiled the beans in water rather than in chicken stock and discarded the water after. We used the chicken stock if any liquid was needed later.
I found that removing the duck from the bone and discarding the skin for the final dish made it easier to eat and serve at the table. I also found that the dish took only 45 minutes in a 350°F oven to meld the flavours and make the crust crispy. This is, perhaps, because I made it in stages then reconstructed the dish the day of the dinner party.
Beware: I made half the recipe and found it was enough to serve eight generously.
As expected with cassoulet, this involved quite a bit of preparation. None of it was especially difficult, but it did require several days. Once I had made the duck confit, a step you can skip by purchasing it, the rest was simple. Of course, this is still not a one-day recipe. The beans need an overnight soaking. The rest is just a matter of a couple of quick preps of the sausage and tomatoes, and then assembly. I did, however, take the extra step of removing the meat from the bones for convenience in serving. I put this together several hours ahead of my dinner party, topping it with the crumbs and extra fat (which it didn’t really need) just before popping it in the oven.
The result was wonderful! The kitchen filled with steamy smells of herbs, sausage, onion, and garlic. The beans were infused with flavor. The duck was so tender it melted into the other ingredients. Finally, I had recreated the cassoulet that made me fall in love with bistros on my first trip to France. It even seduced my health conscious friends. No one left a morsel.