An Easy Take on French Cassoulet
The French make such great hearty food with so much flavour, I love Cassoulet in Winter but in the UK it’s not always easy to get Confit duck or make it yourself so on a whim I made this simplified version which is more of a slow oven baked dish, I’m not calling it Cassoulet strictly because I believe Cassoulet should have the correct French Ingredients and is cooked on a stove but this is a similar and very tasty winter warmer. This is so easy to make, it basically cooks itself.
Sometimes I like to add Dumplings about 20 minutes before serving just for the extra comfort food edge. Though not a French addition they soak up the rich sauce so well.
2 Duck Legs
2 Thick Slices of Pork Belly
4 Toulouse or Pork and Leek Sausages
1 Small to Medium Leek
1 Stick of Celery
2 Medium Carrots
5 Cloves Garlic
1 Tin of Haricot beans
1 Bay Leaf
1 Large sprig of Thyme
2 Teaspoons of tomato puree
500ml or just enough to cover the meats – Beef or Chicken Stock
1 large glass of Red Wine.
Suet Dumplings (optional).
- Heat an oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
- Chop the onion, carrot leek, celery and garlic.
- Tie the herbs in bundle with a piece of string.
- Cut the Pork Belly slices into 2.
- By cutting at the joint, cut the duck legs into 2. So you have a Drumstick and a Thigh.
- Season the Duck Legs and Pork Belly.
- Get a pan and place the duck skin side down into it, then turn on the heat. You just want to get a little colour into the skin. Once browned remove and set aside.
- In the same pan seal the Pork Belly, then set aside.
- While you do the next part, in another pan cook and colour the sausages
- In a large casserole dish heat some oil and pour in any residue pork/duck fat from the other pan.
- Once the oil is warm add the onions and sprinkle with salt/pepper and a little Paprika (I do this to most dishes that start with onions because Paprika gives the onions a lovely warming flavour).
- Add the Celery, Carrot and Leek and let them soften.
- Add the Garlic and Bouquet Garni (herb bundle).
- Once the herbs and garlic become fragrant add the tomato puree and stir in well.
- Add back the meats and stir.
- Drain the tinned beans then add them to the casserole.
- Turn the heat up a little so its sizzling and add the red wine, it should make a nice sizzling sound as it hits the pan and let off a lovely aroma.
- Once the wine has reduced a little add the stock so it covers the meats.
- Add in the cooked sausages.
- Place a lid on the casserole and transfer it to the oven.
- Leave in the oven for around 2-3 hours, or until the duck meat and pork belly are soft and tender. Add the dumplings 20 minute before serving if you want to include them.
- Serve with a little crusty bread and a nice glass of Red (ideally French) Wine – A Bordeaux, Cote Du Rhone, Rioja, Barbera.