August 26, 2021

Recipe: Cassoulet

A fresher, lighter iteration of the classic duck leg, white bean and sausage casserole, make this your "plat du jour" this weekend.

serves 4-6

½ cup coarse salt
12 thyme sprigs
4 duck legs
1L duck fat, melted
300g dried white beans
1 tsp bicarb soda
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1L chicken stock
200g smoked sausage, thickly sliced
4 fresh pork sausages
250g cherry tomatoes on the vine
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp thyme leaves
sea salt & cracked black pepper

Sprinkle coarse salt and thyme into a ceramic or glass tray and place the duck legs, skin side up, into the tray. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 120C. Place duck legs (excess salt brushed off and thyme discarded) into a snug-fitting deep roasting tray, pour over duck fat (the legs should be submerged, if not, add olive oil) and cook gently for 2 hours. Remove legs and store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Strain fat and store in the refrigerator for another use.

Place beans into a small saucepan, cover with cold water, add the bicarb, bring to the boil, turn off the heat, cover the saucepan and set aside for 2 hours.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, carrot and celery and saute until softened. Add garlic and cook for a further minute. Add strained and rinsed beans, bay leaf and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, add smoked sausage and simmer until the beans are tender, about 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place duck legs, pork sausages and cherry tomatoes onto a baking tray into a 190C oven. Roast until duck is warmed through, skin is crisp, sausages are cooked through and the tomatoes begin to collapse. Heat a small frypan over med/high heat. Add olive oil, breadcrumbs and thyme leaves. Fry, stirring regularly, until golden and toasted. Season with salt and pepper.

Cassoulet can be served to share or individually. Spoon the beans into bowl, nestle in the duck legs and pork sausage. Top with the cherry tomatoes and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs. Serve with a fresh side such as sauteed green beans.

This recipe first appeared in the July 2021 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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