Sharon's Recipes

FEBRUARY: Cassoulet

I had the opportunity to make Cassoulet several times over the past holiday season. Though it was considered a peasant dish it is now a specialty since none of us just happen to have ducks, geese, lamb etc in our freezers from an abundant stock in the farmyard. So here’s my version –it got rave reviews.


1.5  lb dried Great Northern white beans
1 onion stuck with two cloves
1 bouquet garni packet
1/4 lb salt pork
1/4 lb smoked slab bacon
1 duck or half a goose
Rendered duck or goose fat
1 large onion , chopped
2 lbs of lamb shoulder or breast boned, large cubes
1 lb lamb bones
4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bottle of Red Rhone wine
1 quart of  beef stock
salt and pepper
1/2 lb sweet Italian Sausage
1/2 lb Chorizos
2 -3 cups of French Bread Cubed
chopped parsley
Goose or duck fat for topping.

Soak the beans overnight.  The next morning drain, rinse and  put beans in a pot.  Cover with enough water, add the onion with the 2 cloves, a bouquet garni, a little salt and simmer for 1.5 hours or until 3/4 ths done. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.

Cut the salt pork and slab bacon into small pieces. Boil for 10 minutes, and drain.

In a dutch oven sear the lamb meat in the duck or goose fat, remove from the pan. Add the lamb bones and sear them on all sides. Remove the bones and saute the onion in the remaining fat. Return the meats to the pot, add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, tomatoes, red wine and beef broth, s & p . Simmer on top of the stove for 1.5 hours  . Remove the bones. Correct seasoning

Using duck or goose fat, sear the salt pork and slab bacon, add sliced sausage and chorizo,
remove to a platter.

Cut the duck or goose into pieces. Sear in more fat until brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate and when cool,remove the meat from the bones. Cut into large pieces.  Save.the bones to make stock

Cube the french bread and toss with chopped parsley.

Final Assembly:

Layer the beans, pork, sausage, lamb stew, and duck in a dutch oven or oven proof casserole with a lid. Repeat ending with a layer of beans on top. If there is not enough liquid from the stew, add the bean water so that it is well covered. Top with the french bread and spoon 4-5 tablespoons of duck or goose fat on top.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 1.5 hours.  Serve immediately with more red wine, french bread and a simple salad.


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