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Classic Cassoulet

Tarbais beans are a classic component of the French dish cassoulet. This version combines garlicky sausage and duck confit with the rich flavors of different cuts of pork. This is certainly a time- and labor-intensive dish, taking up to 3 days to complete including soaking and resting time. However, it is well worth it: the final result is a hearty, comforting casserole that has been treasured in French culture for centuries.

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 1340 min

Total time: 1360 min

Classic Cassoulet
Copyright Recipe © 2014 Woodland Foods

Ingredients

Makes 10 to 12 servings

  • 2 Fresh Ham Hocks

  • 1 Pound Boneless Pork Shoulder, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes

  • 3/4 Teaspoon Kosher Sea Salt Flakes

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fine Ground Black Pepper

  • 2 Pounds Tarbais Beans

  • 1/3 Cup Duck Fat

  • 3 Small Carrots, thinly sliced

  • 2 Medium Onions, diced

  • 1 Head Of Garlic, unpeeled, plus 4 small cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 Large Plum Tomato, chopped

  • 2 Quarts Plus 2 Cups Chicken Broth, divided

  • Bouquet Garni

  • 6 Duck Confit Legs

  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

  • 1 Pound Fresh French-Style Pork Sausage, pricked with a fork

  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Bread Crumbs

Directions

  1. Place ham hocks and pork shoulder in large dish. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Place beans in bowl, and add water to cover beans by 3 inches. Soak overnight. Drain.

  3. Pat ham hocks and pork shoulder cubes dry with paper towel. Heat duck fat in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of pork cubes, and cook until lightly browned, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining pork shoulder cubes.

  4. Add ham hocks to Dutch oven, and lightly brown. Add carrots and onions and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden-brown, about 7 minutes. Add head of garlic and tomato, and cook for 1 minute.

  5. Add 2 quarts broth, bouquet garni and browned pork shoulder with its juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 1-1/2 hours; stir occasionally.

  6. Place beans in large saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boil for 3 minutes. Drain. Add beans to pork mixture. Continue simmering mixture until beans are just tender, about 2 hours. Allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

  7. Spoon as much solidified fat as possible from surface, reserving 1/4 cup fat. Allow to return to room temperature.

  8. Remove ham hocks, and cut into small pieces, discarding bones and skin. Remove head of garlic; reserve. Discard bouquet garni.

  9. Preheat oven to 325°F, and bring bean mixture to a simmer.

  10. Cut pointed end off of cooked garlic head, and squeeze cooked garlic into food processor. Add 4 raw cloves garlic. Purée until smooth, paste-like consistency is achieved. Add garlic paste to simmering bean mixture, and continue cooking over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld and raw garlic mellows. Add cut-up ham hocks to bean mixture.

  11. Remove meat from duck confit legs in large pieces. Cut skin into strips.

  12. Using large slotted spoon, transfer half of bean mixture to casserole dish. Top with duck confit, then remaining bean mixture.

  13. Add remaining 2 cups broth to cooking liquid that remains in Dutch oven. Season with remaining salt and black pepper, and pour over mixture in casserole dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of reserved skimmed fat. Bake cassoulet for 1-1/2 hours.

  14. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages, and cook, turning, until browned all over. Let cool, then cut into 3-inch pieces.

  15. Reduce oven temperature to 275°F. Gently stir in top skin that has formed on cassoulet. Add sausage pieces, and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of reserved skimmed fat. Sprinkle bread crumbs over cassoulet.

  16. Bake 1 hour, until well browned. Remove from oven, and let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.