Recipe courtesy of Reimund Pitz

French Cassoulet

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

4 duck or chicken legs, cut into two pieces

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped, plus

1/8 teaspoon leaves

2 tablespoons clarified butter, plus more as needed

3 pounds boneless lamb leg or pork shoulder

1 pound Polish or bratwurst sausage

1 1/2 cups large dice Spanish onions

1 1/2 cups large dice carrots

1 1/2 cups large dice celery

4 fresh tomatoes, large dice

1 cup dry white wine

5 cups water or chicken bouillon

1 pound navy beans, soaked in water overnight

1/4 cup fresh marjoram leaves, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

6 bay leaves

Salt and ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Trim the excess skin from the duck or chicken and place on a lined baking sheet. Dry the trimmed skin in the oven, checking often, until crispy, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the skin to a food processor along with the breadcrumbs, oil and the 1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves and blend until uniform. Set aside. (This step can also be done while the cassoulet is stewing).
  4. Heat the clarified butter over high heat in a heavy-bottomed saute or frying pan and, working in batches, sear the poultry, pork or lamb and sausage until they are caramelized, adding more butter if the pan gets dry. Remove the meats to a large roasting pan or deep broiler-proof baking dish as they are completed.
  5. In the same pan you browned the meat in, saute the onions, carrots and celery until they are caramelized. Add the tomatoes, wine, and 5 cups water, deglazing the pan by scraping all the loose particles from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Drain the beans and add them to the pan, along with the marjoram, parsley, bay leaves and 1/4 cup thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  7. Pour the beans and liquid over the meats in the roasting pan, cover the pan tightly with foil if no lid is available and bake until the meat is fork-tender and the beans have absorbed most of the liquid and are tender, about 3 hours.
  8. Remove the meat from the pan, drain the liquid from the beans and vegetables and put it into a saucepan.
  9. Add two cups of the cooked bean and vegetable mixture to the liquid and puree with an immersion blender or puree in a blender before adding to the liquid. This will thicken the liquid into a sauce.
  10. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the liquid back over the remaining beans and vegetables, stirring to combine.
  11. Preheat the broiler.
  12. Slice the lamb or pork and lay it on the beans with the sausages and poultry legs. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the cassoulet and broil until the top is lightly browned.

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