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Country cassoulet recipe

Country cassoulet recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Pork
  • Bacon

Inspired by the classic French dish, this version is lighter and less extravagant. It combines chunky sausages, bacon and beans with the traditional garlic and herb crust.

4 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 225g dried haricot beans, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few parsley stalks
  • a small sprig each of fresh thyme and rosemary (optional)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 150g thick-cut streaky bacon, diced
  • 400g coarse-textured sausages
  • 1 leek, thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic & herb crust
  • 75g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 15g butter, diced

MethodPrep:40min ›Cook:1hr45min ›Ready in:2hr25min

  1. Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans, then put into a large saucepan with the bay leaves and parsley stalks. If using, tie the thyme and rosemary in a small bundle for easy removal, and add to the pan. Pour in 1 litre cold water and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Skim off any scum that has risen to the surface.
  2. Skin one of the onions and stud with cloves. Add to the beans, cover and simmer gently for 50 minutes or until the beans are almost tender. Drain, reserving the stock, but discarding the herbs and onion.
  3. Meanwhile, gently fry the bacon in a large, flameproof casserole for 5 minutes or until the fat starts to run. Remove with a draining spoon and set aside, then add the sausages to the casserole. Turn up the heat to moderate and cook for 10 minutes, turning frequently, until lightly browned all over. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
  4. Drain all but 1 tbsp of fat from the casserole or add 1 tbsp oil if necessary. Finely chop the remaining onion and gently cook for 7–8 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the leek and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Thickly slice the sausages and return to the casserole with the bacon. Add the carrots, canned tomatoes with their juice, paprika, haricot beans and 400ml of the reserved stock. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160°C (gas 3). Bring the cassoulet to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic. Sprinkle over the cassoulet and dot with the butter. Cook uncovered in the oven for 45–50 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the crust is nicely browned and crisp.


If you're pushed for time, use two 300g cans of haricot beans, drained and rinsed, and omit steps 1 and 2. Add pork or chicken stock in step 4, making up the quantity with 150ml dry white wine, if liked.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(2)

Reviews in English (3)

delicious!! I didn't change a thing, other than adding a bit more hungarian paprika for taste. I can't wait to make this for friends. Oh, I didn't make the herb crust, either. Baked in the oven, it didn't need it ( in my opinion)-11 Jan 2011

Altered ingredient amounts.instead of stock I used plain water, the dish was full of flavour and I'm glad to have made the change-11 Jan 2011

A great recipe and very simple and extremely yummy. Used tinned Haricot beans which made it that little quicker. This meant that I did not have to follow stage 1 of the recipe. I used a chicken stock cube and used approximately 400ml of water to the mix. If you have Le Creuset you do not need an oven you can just use the hob and let it simmer gently for approximately and hour and a half. I did not bother with the crust. With the french sausages that we got from France this is a great dish especially on these cold summer days-09 May 2013

Cassoulet - French Classic Pork and Sausage Stew

Published: March 16, 2019 • Modified: May 13, 2021 • by Author: Analida • Word count:1097 words. • About 6 minutes to read this article.

Cassoulet, named after the earthenware vessel, is an aromatic not to mention hearty bean and meat stew guaranteed to warm your heart and your stomach during the cold winter months of the northern hemisphere. Cassoulet is a truly rustic dish with a blend of aromatic and savory spices giving it a unique and intense flavor.

Sausage cassoulet

Make this hearty slow-cook sausage cassoulet dish for a crowd or enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day. A spicy Toulouse-style sausage is a good choice as the pork rind gives extra depth of flavour to the beans so it's worth adding if you can.

  1. Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. Drain the beans and put in a large deep pan. Cover with cold water by a few centimetres, add the bay leaves and pork rind if using. Bring to the boil, boil for 10 minutes then simmer, covered, for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 140°C (120°C fan oven) gas mark 1. Heat the oil and brown the sausages until golden all over. Cut each one into three pieces and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, cook the bacon over a low heat until the fat runs. Turn up the heat and fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the sausages.
  5. Add the onion and celery to the pan and cook gently with a pinch of salt, covered, for 20 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and purée and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes.
  6. In a large, deep casserole, layer the beans, onion mixture, sausages and bacon, seasoning as you go with the thyme and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour in the stock. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 2-3 hours in the oven until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Check the seasoning, then sprinkle over an even, deep layer of breadcrumbs. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 1 hour. Leave the sausage cassoulet to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make this hearty slow-cook sausage cassoulet dish for a crowd or enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day. A spicy Toulouse-style sausage is a good choice as the pork rind gives extra depth of flavour to the beans so it's worth adding if you can.


I cooked this on the stove top and let simmer for hours because my stove is broken. I thought it was a little too much broth so I cut down from 4 cups to 2 cups and added extra carrot and celery.

Fabulous! I paid attention to all the previous reviews. I can answer the question many had about the bacon. If you use the slab bacon in 2 inch pieces, after browning it you will end up with lean chunks of bacon which will then become tender after the final one hour of cooking. This was the best part for my husband! Don’t forget you are going to pour off most of the fat after browning the bacon so it really doesn’t add to richness. My husband LOVED it.

I have made this recipe as written before. It is a great recipe. However, I recently made this with left over turkey from Tday. After pressure cooking the carcass, I used the meat from it, plus the wonderful broth that was created in the process. I also added some green chili, extra fresh tomatoes, way more celery than the recipe calls for, mushrooms, and no carrots (did not want any sweetness imparted). I also reduced the amount of fluid called for, reduced the bacon, and increased wine. I also added quite a bit of fresh rosemary, but I always do that. It is amazing. This recipe is a great stock recipe that allows for all kinds of tweaking. My kitchen was a disaster in the end, but all well worth it.

This certainly was delicious, and perfect for a cold March day, BUT I think the recipe called for WAY too much liquid! Probably 2 cups of stock would have been enough. I made it last night, and we loved the taste, but as I'm writing this, I have my pot on the stove to reduce the sauce. I think it is too soupy! Also it makes way more that 4-6 servings. We're only 2, and this will feed us for many meals. But I've learned something here . read the reviews before deciding on making a recipe!

Made the cassoulet this afternoon using pork shoulder and kidney beans, since that was what we had on hand. And instead of cutting the bacon in large chunks we diced it coarsely. Otherwise we followed the instructions to a T. Results: delicious! The meat was very tender and the amount of liquid turned out to be just right. Be warned however: this recipe makes a lot of food! Even after halving for 3, we have tons of leftovers.

I made this today using a cast iron pot. I used exact liquid amount but added around 1/4 cup of wheat bread crumbs and the consistency was thick. I added a few more cloves of garlic, cut the bacon to half a pound added some turkey kielbasa and some lamb sausage basesd on some of the other reviews suggesting more meat. I also asked my butcher to cut the ribs in half through the bone which made it easier to cook. I did remove the sprigs of thyme after cooking the ribs and lamb sausage but kept the onions and garlic in the pot as I cooked the bacon. I thought that would add to the depth of flavor. This is the first time I've made a cassoulet and I thought it was great and is perfect for a cold Chicago winter day.

This is such a good recipe. You can fuss with all the feedback from the other reviewers: use less liquid, cut back on the bacon and salt, double the garlic (these are all good suggestions) but the fundamentals of the dish are strong. It's easy, tasty, comforting. with deliciousness 'way greater than the small effort to prepare. Make this! Serve your friends and family! Be prepared to argue over the leftovers!

Wow, was this ever good! So flavorful and hearty, perfect for fall and winter dinner. Only change was we added more garlic, otherwise found recipe perfect as written. I do think using a heavy braiser or French oven pot (e.g. Le Creuset) is essential.

Wow! We really enjoyed this dish. Used it the second day over rice. Will make it many times.

Totally tasty. I followed the recipe with 2 exceptions. I used dried beans which had been soaked overnight, and because of this had to increase the time in the oven (stage 2) somewhat. And I used quinoa flakes in lieu of bread crumbs to make this a gluten free dish.

Poorly written recipe, but result is tasty, if rich. Doesn't direct you to remove onions and liquid from pot after cooking the pork, and doesn't indicate whether to keep it or toss it. 2" chunks of slab bacon seems crazy-- not enough surface area for browning, way to big to eat. Seems light on the garlic and thyme, seems heavy on the bacon. And yes, the result is far soupier than the photo, and pretty salty. That said, tastes pretty darn good. Next time Iɽ try adding a variety of meets for complexity like lamb and sausage.

I made this for my hubby, who had never had cassoulet before and kept wondering when the "stew" was going to be ready. Lol. He loved it! Made it with pork shoulder because I couldn't find spareribs, and used slightly less bacon than what is called for (following review advice). I also reduced the liquid a little bit longer before adding the pork back and putting it in the oven, which created the perfect final consistency.

Fantastic! It was thick enough right out of the oven and I followed all of the instructions except. I set aside some of the browned slab bacon to add at the last minute as I didn't want it to lose its crisp. Everything else was the same and flavor was great!

My family and are I are going to be sad when the pot is empty. which is getting close. We love this cassoulet! I followed the suggestion of one of the reviewers to use duck bacon and I think that added a very rich flavor to this dish. Besides the bacon, I followed the recipe.

Excellent. The meat was so tender, and wonderful flavor.

This recipe gets 4 forks for a lovely combination of flavors, but zero forks for dietary responsibility and clarity of instructions. Three pounds of meat is over the top for 4-6 servings--to say nothing about the fact that one pound of the meat is bacon. Also, if you put boneless pork in a 375 oven for an hour and a half, you will incinerate it. Having vented about that--and made the recipe otherwise as written with less meat and bacon, it was delicious and I will make it again.

This cassoulet was well worth the time. As others, I did cut back on the bacon. When making the breadcrumb topping, I omitted the olive oil as I felt there was plenty in the dish already. A keeper! Perfect for cold, rainy days. ^_^

This dish was very easy and turned out great with slight modification! I used 3lb boneless country-style spareribs, 2/3 lb. bacon and at least double the garlic. I discarded all the fat/juices rendered from the meat before browning the bacon, something that is an oversight in the directions. I made bread crumbs with country sourdough that I sliced and dried in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes, turning several times. Then put them in the food processor. Added a little salt to the bread crumb mixer, but added no other salt. Left the bread crumbs alone on top until the last 10 minutes so they were able to get a little crunchy. The consistency was perfect and it looked very much like the picture.

Made this dinner party favorite but used duck bacon. The flavor was amazing and gave a bit of autenticity and richness to the dish. Plan to make it again for our Holiday Book Club meeting in December with lots of red wine and French bread.

I forgot to say, actually I did use 1/3 of the bacon.

It's amazing fun to make, with a good high right around #6! Typical, beautiful French meal - looks digusting, tastes incredible. You need to trust that there is not too much liquid when you put it in the oven, just follow the instructions. Wouldn't change a thing - though I did use veg. broth. You can easily make your breadcrumbs in the early stages.

Its not really fair to rate this recipe because I changed it to much, and I wouldn't call it cassoulet. I used pancetta and italian sausage though 1/2 the amount that it calls for with the bacon. I also used pork stewing meat altho I did add a couple of pork knuckles for the richness. I used flageolet beans, more garlic, and I added leeks and rapini in the last hour of cooking. I made sure my bread crumbs formed some browned crust. It was very good, though not sure what I would call it, its definitely not cassoulet

The first time I make a recipe I make it to the exact measurements. This way you get the feel of what the chef wanted to convey. This was very good and I do not see the need to make any changes. I would make again.

A note to the so called "foodie" before me who chose not to try this recipe, yet felt superior enough to rate it and berate it. You really missed out. It is a great recipe. To those of you finding it too soupy, make sure the cover is OFF for the last hour. I added extra panko


01122002 Cover beans with cold water by 2 inches in a large bowl and soak 8 to 12 hours. Drain in a colander.

How To Make Traditional Cassoulet And Why You Should Put Chicken In It Cassoulet Recipes French Cassoulet Recipe Chicken Recipes

Cassoulet is a hearty dish but with a few little tweaks weve reduced the calorie count while keeping the big flavours.

Cassoulet. Originating in Languedoc in southwest France cassoulet was once simple farmhouse fare but it has been elaborated into a rich and complex dish. Kenji Lopez-Alt The first time I had cassoulet in its home turf it was a. White beans with pork sausage duck confit gizzards cooked together for a long time.

Stir in garlic bay leaf thyme rosemary and 10 cups water. 08102014 A meaty stew of poultry sausage pork and beans all under a rich dark brown crust. Cook over low heat turning occasionally until golden brown and.

Cassoulet was originally the food of peasants – a simple assemblage of what ingredients were available. Transfer beans to a 6- to 8-quart pot and bring to a boil with 8 cups cold water broth tomato. There always has been a three-sided rivalry about the origin of the dish.

24092013 Soak Great Northern beans in water in a large bowl overnight. Continue reading to learn more about the origins of this classic dish. Stir up a comfortingly rustic French bean stew for a hearty supper.

Carcassonne Toulouse and Castelnaudary. Cassoulet is a classic of the French country kitchen and most popular in the South West particularly around Toulouse and Carcassone where it originates from. In a traditional cassoulet there are several types of meat usedusually duck pork and spicy sausage.

Choose really meaty sausages and gammon take the skin off the chicken and. Its traditionally made with sausages or pork but we also have delicious veggie versions. 19032014 C assoulet that deceptively humble Gascon mess of meat and beans is a desert-island dish for me if that island happened to be of the bleak and chilly variety.

Bury the duck legs in the beans and sprinkle over the goose fat or olive oil breadcrumbs and garlic. Cassoulet French dish of white beans baked with meats. It was in Carcassonne in the Languedoc-Rousillon region that I tasted this dish for the first time.

Like many dishes that come under. Bring beans to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat until beans have started to soften about 1 hour. 25012020 Cassoulet a hearty slow-simmered stew of sausage confit typically duck pork and white beans is one of the great hallmarks of French country cuisine.

Push whole clove into the 12 onion and add to beans. Drain beans and place into a large soup pot. Dutch oven or other heavy pot the same one youll cook the cassoulet in.

It takes its name from its cooking pot the cassole dIssel. A mix of haricot beans different cuts of pork sausages and duck confit baked with a crispy bread topping cassoulet is traditionally made in a tall earthenware pot that is narrow at the base and wide at the top to give the maximum amount of crust. The best versions are.

Return to the oven and cook for a further. 21092017 Meanwhile arrange skin in a single layer in an 8-qt. 01122008 Cassoulet is the kind of dish that is enjoyed in Quebec probably because it is a dish perfectly adapted to our winters.

30012008 Remove the cassoulet from the oven.

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French country cooking goes from rustic to refined with these 15 recipes from SAVEUR magazine. From cassoulet, coq au vin, and beef stew, choose from 15 French country classic recipes.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound dried Great Northern beans
  • 1 whole clove
  • ½ onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 10 cups water
  • ½ pound thick-sliced bacon, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound link sausages (preferably French herb sausage), cut in half crosswise
  • 1 pound cooked duck leg confit
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Soak Great Northern beans in water in a large bowl overnight. Drain beans and place into a large soup pot. Push whole clove into the 1/2 onion and add to beans stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and 10 cups water. Bring beans to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat until beans have started to soften, about 1 hour. Drain beans and reserve the cooking liquid, removing and discarding onion with clove and bay leaf. Transfer beans to a large mixing bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cook bacon in a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium heat until lightly browned and still limp, about 5 minutes. Stir celery, carrots, and 1/2 diced onion into bacon season with salt. Cook and stir vegetables in the hot bacon fat until tender, about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat brown sausage link halves and duck confit in the hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes per side.

Season vegetable-bacon mixture with 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, cracked black pepper, and herbes de Provence pour in diced tomatoes. Cook and stir mixture over medium heat until juice from tomatoes has nearly evaporated and any browned bits of food on the bottom of pot have dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir mixture into beans.

Spread half the bean mixture into the heavy Dutch oven and place duck-sausage mixture over the beans spread remaining beans over meat layer. Pour just enough of the reserved bean liquid into pot to reach barely to the top of the beans, reserving remaining liquid. Bring bean cassoulet to a simmer on stovetop and cover Dutch oven with lid.

Bake bean cassoulet in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat add 4 crushed garlic cloves, panko crumbs, and parsley to the melted butter. Season with salt and black pepper, and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over crumbs. Stir to thoroughly combine.

Uncover cassoulet and check liquid level mixture should still have several inches of liquid. If beans seem dry, add more of the reserved bean liquid. Spread half the crumb mixture evenly over the beans and return to oven. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. There should be about 2 or 3 inches of liquid at the bottom of the pot if mixture seems dry, add more reserved bean mixture. Sprinkle remaining half the bread crumb mixture over cassoulet.

Turn oven heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake cassoulet, uncovered, until crumb topping is crisp, edges are bubbling, and the bubbles are slow and sticky, 20 to 25 more minutes. Serve beans on individual plates and top each serving with a piece of duck and several sausage pieces.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound assorted dry beans (2-1/2 cups)
  • 4 ½ cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon instant beef bouillon granules
  • Dash ground cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 5 pound domestic duckling or 1 3- to 3-1/2-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up (skinned, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ¾ pound boneless lean pork, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¾ pound boneless lean lamb or beef, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 large onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cups dry white wine
  • 1 14.5 ounce can tomatoes, undrained and cut up
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup dry bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons snipped parsley

In an 8- to 10-quart Dutch oven, combine beans with enough water to cover. Bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans rinse.

In the same Dutch oven combine drained beans, the 4-1/2 cups cold water, bouillon granules, and cloves. Add bay leaves. Bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 hours. Discard bay leaves.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet brown the duckling or chicken in hot oil (omit oil if duckling or chicken is not skinned) over medium-high heat about 10 minutes or until brown, turning occasionally. Remove duckling or chicken from skillet, reserving drippings in pan.

Cook pork in the reserved drippings for 5 to 6 minutes or until brown remove pork. In the same skillet cook lamb or beef for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown. Remove meat drain fat from skillet.

In the same skillet cook onion wedges and carrot about 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic cook for 30 seconds more. Add pork, lamb or beef, and onion mixture to bean mixture in the Dutch oven stir to combine.

To the same skillet add 1/4 cup of the white wine. Heat and stir to scrape up browned bits in bottom of skillet. Add to Dutch oven along with the remaining 1 cup wine, undrained tomatoes, thyme, and pepper. Arrange duckling or chicken pieces atop. Bring to boiling reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. (At this point, mixture can be cooled, then stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.)

Bake, covered, in a 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes (1 hour, if chilled). Combine bread crumbs, margarine or butter, and parsley. Sprinkle atop cassoulet bake, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes more or until crumbs are brown. Makes 10 servings.

I love authentic cassoulet. I have invested much expense into the perfection of this dish. I am on the "no bread crumbs on a cassoulet" side of the fence, so I was a dissenter from the beginning. This is a good solid recipe that will give delicious results, but it is not for me. I did purchase the cassole from ClayCoyote a couple years ago--that is how serious I am about a magnificent cassoulet. I think mine easily outshines this one thus, we carry tradition forward holding steadfast that there is only one truly acceptable version of the cassoulet, which is, of course, the one that I am currently loving.

I've followed this recipe for the past 4-5 years, and it was delicious. This year, as I started to prepare to make it again, I bought some duck confit, garlic sausage, pork shoulder. and then I lost my job. I have carrots, celerly, garlic, and all the spices. Wishing to make Cassoulet, I will improvise. I have several dried beans. black eyed peas, some 15 bean mixture, and some dried baby lima beans. I totally 'get' the idea that I can make an authentic cassoulet, but as I understand, authentic varies. I'm pretty sure my mixed bean 'Cassoulet' will be delicious, and I'll follow up with a review.

What are "fresh ham hocks" Very confusing: are they smoked? Ham hocks? Or just fresh pork hocks?

where are the 1025 reviews?

I have to agree with Douglas. Living in a location that could be a "fancy food desert" i had to improvise and order ingredients online. Thankfully i am good at improvisation. But i am sure that affected some of the nuanced flavor of this dish. However, this recipe would properly take three days to make. In my case, i cut it down to 2, but the finished version (while delicious) felt like a huge time sink and expense for the flavor. Unless this labor of love is one you plan to follow to a "t" and have the extremely rare palate to appreciate the nuance of the multiple types of pork, this recipe could be simplified significantly. Overall delicious, but would not make this version again. It did serve me well to help me figure out a few variations that would be less time consuming and i think i could even figure out a vegetarian version of this as a result of the experience. Here are some of the variations i had to make due to availability: French sausages were local unsmoked / non spiced pork sausages Could not obtain pork skin so used some thick cut local bacon My duck confit legs came from a can However i was able to get true cassoulet beans from California's Rancho Gordo. Good luck if you choose to make it. Thankfully this recipe is so full of comfort food items that even big variations will likely leave you with a tasty morsel.

The perfect cassoulet

800g haricot beans, soaked in cold water overnight
1 onion, peeled
1 head of garlic, unpeeled, plus 4 cloves
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 small, unsmoked ham hock, skin on
2 confit duck legs and their fat
500g pork belly or lamb breast, cubed
4 garlicky Toulouse sausages
1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
120g breadcrumbs
2 tbps walnut oil

Drain the beans well and put them in a large, ovenproof casserole dish. Pour in water until it comes about 3cm above the top of the beans, then add the onion, whole head of garlic, herbs and ham hock. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for about two hours, until just tender, but not falling apart.

Meanwhile, fry the duck, pork belly or lamb breast, and sausages separately in plenty of duck fat until crisp and golden. When cool, cut the sausages into large chunks and strip the meat from the duck in large pieces.

Remove the onion and herbs from the beans and discard. Remove the ham hock and, when cool enough, strip the meat from it. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and mash to a paste with four tablespoons of duck fat and the fresh garlic cloves. Stir in the sun-dried tomato paste. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/gas mark one.

Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Grease the bottom of the casserole with a little of the duck fat mix, then tip in the beans, the rest of the duck fat and the pieces of meat, keeping back half the sausage. Mix well, then top with just enough liquid to cover – you probably won't need to add any seasoning, as both the ham and the confit will be quite salty.

Fry the breadcrumbs very briefly in one tablespoon of duck fat, then top the cassoulet with a thin layer of them. Bake for about two hours, keeping an eye on it – once a crust has formed, stir this back into the cassoulet, and top with some more of the breadcrumbs. By the end of the cooking time, you should have a thick, golden crust.

Drizzle with a little walnut oil, and leave to cool slightly before serving with a sharply dressed green salad.

Cassoulet: are you a fan of the Toulouse, the Castelnaudary or the Carcassonne variety – or do you prefer a Brazilian feijoada or a hearty pot of Boston baked beans? What do you serve with your cassoulet, if anything, and will anyone speak up for the unfortunate andouillette?

Watch the video: How To Make a Cassoulet step by step. French Cooking academy visit south of France