Winter warmer: Cassoulet of duck
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May I say, Paul Collins, Muddy Stilettos resident bespoke chef, that you rock! The perfect dish to warm us through on these miserable wet days. MS readers, if you try this recipe, let us know how it goes in the comment box below. Enjoy!
This is a classic duck dish from the Languedoc region in the southwest of France. I love making cassoulet at this time of year – it’s one of those dishes where you can make the components a couple of days in advance and then assemble on the day, ready to pop in the oven.
You can speed up the process by buying a good quality tin of duck confit from a deli (as I’ve used for this recipe), though one of the good things about making your own confit is that it lasts for weeks in the fridge. So you can buy whole ducks and have the breasts for dinner one night then turn the legs into confit for your cassoulet later on!
To save time on the cooking I’ve also used cooked cannellini beans, though to remain faithful to the traditional recipe use dried white haricot beans.
1 tin of cooked confit duck legs
4 Toulouse sausages or spicy ones from your local butcher
2 thick rashers of smoked belly bacon cut in to strips (lardons)
4 ripe tomatoes
2 banana shallots
2 cloves of garlic
1 tin of cooked cannellini beans. Use this tin as a measure for water or stock
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
Sprig of fresh thyme
1. To make the breadcrumb topping, whizz the breadcrumbs with one clove of garlic, a little olive oil and the chopped parsley. Set aside until required.
2. Add a splash of olive oil to a large pan, add the sausages and chopped bacon. Cook for 5-6 minutes until they are browned all over.
3. Leave these in the hot pan, then add the finely chopped shallots and garlic, cook for a couple of minutes until they are translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes.
4. Next add the drained beans, bay leaf and thyme, then add the same measure of the empty bean tin in stock or water to the pot.
5. Cook for 10 minutes to ensure all of the flavours are coming together, check the seasoning and adjust if required.
6. Now place the whole mixture in to an earthenware dish that can go in the oven.
7. Place the cooked duck legs on top of the bean mixture, then sprinkle on the breadcrumbs that have been mixed up with the garlic, olive oil and parsley.
This is now ready to go in to a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes on 170c.
The breadcrumbs on top should go crunchy and all the juices from the beans should bake on the side of the dish.
It’s a really fabulous dish to serve up with a generous glass of red wine and some good fresh bread.
Happy cooking …Paul x
www.chefpaulcollins.co.uk. Tel: 07774866902/01844 279461.
Photo courtesy of Tory McTernan www.torymcternan.co.uk