Layers of duck, pork kielbasa sausage, and beans make this the comfort meal to end all comfort meals. It’s an occasion to break out the biggest pot you own. Our classic cassoulet recipe takes no shortcuts and requires a little planning, but every step is totally doable and the result is amazing.
Yields: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Cooking Time: 1 1/4 hr
Prep Time: 12 hr
1 lb dried white beans (Soaked 12 Hours)
8 1/4 cups cold water
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chopped onion (3/4 lb)
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (6 large cloves)
1 (3-inch) piece celery, cut into thirds
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs plus 1/2 cup chopped leaves
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 (14-oz) can chopped tomatoes
4 confit duck legs* (1 3/4 lb total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb smoked pork kielbasa, cut into 1 inch thick slices
2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Drain Soaked Beans in a colander.
- Transfer beans to a 6- to 8-quart pot and bring to a boil with 8 cups cold water, broth, tomato paste, onion, and 2 tablespoons garlic.
- Put celery, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, parsley sprigs, and peppercorns in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with string to make a bouquet garni.
- Add bouquet garni to beans, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until beans are almost tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Stir in tomatoes with juice and simmer until beans are just tender, about 15 minutes more.
Duck and Sausage Preparation While Beans are Simmering:
- Remove all skin and fat from duck legs and cut skin and fat into 1/2-inch pieces. Separate duck meat from bones, leaving it in large pieces, and transfer meat to a bowl. Add bones to bean pot.
- Cook duck skin and fat with remaining 1/4 cup cold water in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until water is evaporated and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until skin is crisp, 3 to 6 minutes more. Transfer cracklings with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, leaving fat in skillet. (You should have about 1/4 cup fat; if not, add olive oil.)
- Brown sausage in batches in fat in skillet, then transfer to bowl with duck meat, reserving skillet.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
The Amazing Bread crumb topping:
Add remaining tablespoon garlic to fat in skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cracklings.
- Remove bouquet garni and duck bones from beans and discard, then stir in kielbasa, duck meat, remaining teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Ladle cassoulet into Dutch Oven Casserole Dish, distributing meat and beans evenly. (Meat and beans should be level with liquid.
- Spread bread crumb topping evenly over cassoulet and bake, uncovered, until bubbling and bread crust is golden, about 1 hour.