Cassoulet is a hearty dish with big flavours, rich and warming, it is slow cooking at its best. The dish gets its name from the pot it’s traditionally baked in – a cassole.
Beans are the backbone of the dish but is the addition of the different meats and sausages that give the delicious flavours. Pork and ham are typically a key element however there are as many variations as there are cooks making the dish with many regional interpretations that all claim to be the superior version.
We have a recipe here that works well using duck, pork and some meaty italian sauasages. Cook it and this can be a springboard to your own variations.
The ingredients here will serve 6-8. You can cook well in advance and the dish is quite forgiving if you need to leave it in the oven for a while before serving – but don’t let it dry out.
Ingredients for Cassoulet
400g of Haricot beans (dry weight)
500g of diced Pork Shoulder – from Morley Butchers
4 duck legs – from Morley Butchers
8 Italian Sausages – from Morley Butchers
300g piece of smoked bacon (diced & remove the skin) – from Morley Butchers
1 large onion chopped
2 large garlic cloves
sprig of thyme
sprig of rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 celery sticks
1 medium carrot
200g of large bread crumbs
8 juniper berries
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Cooking method for Cassoulet
There are three distinct parts for the cooking process. The boiling, the roasting and then the combination of the two.
Soak your beans overnight before boiling – or alternatively wash well cover in plenty of water bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes then leave for 1 hour in the hot water.
Place the bacon chunks, sausages, onion, celery, carrot and herbs into a large saucepan along with the soaked/cooked beans simmer gently for 1.5 hours.
Place your diced pork and duck legs – jointed into 2 parts into a roasting dish and roast on a medium heat for 45 minutes. If you get the timing right they will both be ready at the same time.
Drain the beans and reserve the liquor – discard the carrot, celery and herbs
In a large deep dish put in a layer of beans followed by the meats and sausage cover with the remaining beans. Pour in 500ml of the cooking liquid. Top the dish with a thick layer of crumbs.
Cook uncovered in the oven for 1.5 hours at 180oc. Check from time to time and top up with extra boiling liquid if needed.
Enjoy with a side salad and a glass of hearty red wine