Traditional Cassoulet Recipe
Thomas Maieli has been supplying us with Duck Confit for many years. He is an expert in all things 'duck' - so much so that he's known as Mr Duck! Thomas has kindly shared with us his personal recipe for a traditional Cassoulet. It's the perfect recipe for those chillier, darker days ahead.
(to serve 8 people)
8 pieces Duck Confit
8 Toulouse sausages,
600g dry haricot beans,
250g Salt pork belly or unsliced smoked streaky bacon
1 whole onion, studded with cloves
A bouquet garni - a few sprigs of thyme, a bunch of parsley and 3 or 4 bayleaves tied up with some celery or green leek leaves,
3 onions, sliced into 3mm rounds,
6 fat cloves of garlic,
200g pork rind,
2 carrots, sliced (or diced, if they're big),
2 tbs tomato purée,
100g stale breadcrumbs.
• The day before, cover the beans with cold water and leave to soak overnight; as they swell you may need to add water to keep them covered.
• In your biggest flameproof casserole pot - preferably one that is deeper, not wider, put the beans together with the carrots, sliced and whole onions, the peeled garlic cloves, bouquet garni, peppercorns, the salt pork or bacon and the pork rind. Note: I cut the rind up into small postage stamp-sized pieces which almost melt away as they give up their rich sticky collagen, leaving just small tender remnants. Other chefs recommend leaving the sheet of rind whole which I wouldn't fancy eating so much.
• Cover with cold water, at least 2 or 3 inches over the ingredients, and bring to the boil. Skim off any grey scum that appears with a slotted spoon, then reduce to a low simmer for at least 2 hours.
• If the beans are tender after 2 hours, stir in the tomato purée, and add the sausages, pushing them down amongst the beans. Simmer very gently for another hour.
• Push the pieces of duck confit into the mixture, with quite a generous covering of duck fat still on them.
• Sprinkle half the breadcrumbs over the surface and place the pot, uncovered, in an oven preheated to 180°c
• After 20-30 minutes the breadcrumbs should be looking golden brown; stir this crust into the cassoulet a bit, then reapply a second layer. Once these are looking rich, golden and crisp the cassoulet is ready to serve. Bon appetit!