Recipe Match for Red Bordeaux
A Classic French Cassoulet
Cassoulet looks daunting, but the actual work involved is far less than the reward. Preparation is key. Two of the bases—duck confit legs and ham hocks—can be bought prepared and used as-is. The ears can be left out. If you time it before you start cooking, you will find that this recipe takes surprisingly little active time and produces great results.
- 5 Moulard duck legs
- 10 cloves garlic, crushed, divided
- 1/2 cup salt, divided
- 16 sage leaves, divided
- 3 sprigs thyme, divided
- 3 quarts duck fat, divided, plus 2 tablespoons
- 10 pork hocks
- 3 pig ears
- 1/2 pound pork skin
- 2 1/2 pounds dried Tarbais beans, soaked overnight in water to cover
- 5 quarts vegetable stock
- 3 tomatoes, crushed
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1 slice prosciutto (preferably an end piece)
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/4 rutabaga, diced
- 1/2 celery root, diced
- 1/2 turnip, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/4 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup garlic confit (2 heads garlic, peeled, covered in olive oil and cooked over low heat until soft, about 1 hour)
- 3 pounds sausages de Toulouse
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch by 2 1/2-inch pieces
1. Marinate the duck legs in a paste of four crushed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup salt, and half of the sage and thyme for two days. Wipe off the marinade. To confit them, cook them in enough melted duck fat to cover, in a covered pan, in a 300° F oven for 1 1/2 hours.
2. Marinate 10 pork hocks in a paste of six crushed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup salt, and the remaining sage and thyme for two days. Wipe off the marinade. Cook them in enough melted duck fat to cover, in a covered pan, in a 300° F oven for 2 hours.
3. Blanch 3 pig ears in boiling water, refresh in a bowl of ice water, dry thoroughly, and confit them with the pork hocks for the last hour at 300° F. When they have cooled, cut into small strips.
4. Blanch pork skin in boiling water, refresh in a bowl of ice water, dry thoroughly, and cut into 1 1/2-inch square pieces.
5. Over high heat, bring beans, stock and crushed tomatoes to a boil in large pot. Reduce heat to medium and add bouquet garni. Cook until beans are al dente (45 minutes to 1 hour), then strain, reserving liquid. Discard bouquet garni, but reserve beans.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons duck fat in a large, ovenproof stockpot over medium heat, and add prosciutto and vegetables. Sweat until vegetables are softened, then add chopped tomatoes and garlic confit. Preheat oven to 350° F.
7. Sear pork sausages in a sauté pan over high heat, and add to stockpot, along with reserved stock, pork hocks, pig ears, bacon, pork skin and reserved beans. Bake 2 hours.
8. Remove cassoulet from oven and place each of the meats and the beans on sheet pans. When cool enough to handle, remove the bone and skin from the pork hocks and cut each in half, and cut duck legs in half. Increase oven temperature to 400° F.
9. Distribute the beans and meat among individually sized pots or casseroles 6 inches round and 2 inches deep. Bake 15 minutes. Serves 10.