Classic Cassoulet

Cassoulet is more than just a meal; it’s a heartwarming story served in a pot. This rich, slow-cooked casserole originates from the south of France and is perfect for those who love a hearty meal.

Why You’ll Love Classic Cassoulet

  1. Rich and Deep Flavors: The combination of meats like duck leg confit, ventrèche (a type of French bacon), and sausages, each with their own unique seasoning and preparation methods, contribute to a deep, complex flavor profile. The slow cooking process allows all these flavors to meld beautifully.
  2. Comfort Food at Its Best: Cassoulet is the epitome of comfort food. It’s hearty, filling, and perfect for those days when you crave something to warm you up from the inside out. It’s especially delightful during colder months or on rainy days.
  3. Culinary Adventure: If you enjoy exploring different cuisines, making a traditional French dish like Cassoulet can be a wonderful culinary adventure. It’s a chance to experience and savor a piece of French cooking right at your dining table.
  4. Satisfaction of Cooking Something Special: This recipe involves a range of cooking techniques, from soaking and simmering beans to browning meats and baking the final assembly. The process can be deeply satisfying, especially when you see (and taste) the fruits of your labor.
  5. Ideal for Gatherings: Cassoulet is perfect for sharing and is bound to impress at dinner parties or family gatherings. Its communal nature, served from a large pot, makes it a fantastic dish for social occasions.
  6. Leftovers Keep Well: This dish is as practical as it is delicious. Cassoulet tends to taste even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop, making it an excellent option for leftovers.
  7. Customizable: While traditional ingredients are recommended for authentic flavor, the recipe is versatile. You can make substitutions based on availability or dietary preferences, making it a recipe you can come back to and adapt as needed.

Ingredients Needed To Make Classic Cassoulet

The Dartagnan Cassoulet Kit offers a convenient all-in-one solution, providing everything you need to effortlessly create this hearty and delicious meal. You can get your full kit here.

How To Make Classic Cassoulet

Soak the Beans: Place beans in a container, cover with water. Soak for 24 hours, checking water levels.

Cook the Beans: Drain beans, add to a pot with half of the ventrèche, garlic, carrot, and bouquet garni. Cover with water, boil, then simmer for about 1 hour.

Prepare the Meats: Brown the duck sausages and cut them into thirds. Slice the garlic sausage and duck legs.

Preheat Oven: Set to 325 degrees F.

Combine Ingredients: Remove bouquet garni, onion, and ventrèche from beans. Season beans, slice ventrèche, and set aside.

Prepare the Sauce: Mix demi-glace, tomato paste, and water.

Assemble in Pot: Grease pot, layer beans and meats, and pour demi-glace over. Drizzle with duck fat.

Bake: Uncovered for 2½ – 3 hours at 325 degrees F. Add liquid if needed.

Prep for Later (Optional): Can be refrigerated for 3 days.

Final Cooking: Increase oven to 400 degrees F, bake until browned for about 45 minutes.

Serve: Ensure equal portions of beans and meats for each guest.

Variations & Substitutions

  • Meats: Substitute duck legs or sausages with pork sausages or chicken thighs for a different flavor.
  • Beans: If Tarbais beans are unavailable, great northern beans or cannellini beans can be used as alternatives.
  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the meats and use mushrooms or root vegetables for a hearty vegetarian version.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I make cassoulet ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare it up to 3 days in advance. Just refrigerate and bring it to room temperature before the final baking.

What if I can’t find some of the specific ingredients?

Look for the closest substitutes. For instance, any high-quality dried white bean can replace Tarbais beans.

How do I know when the cassoulet is done?

The beans should be very tender, and a crust should form on the top. It typically takes about 2½ to 3 hours of baking.

Can this dish be frozen?

Yes, cassoulet freezes well. Just thaw and reheat thoroughly before serving.

Classic Cassoulet Recipe

This rich, slow-cooked casserole originates from the south of France and is perfect for those who love a hearty meal.
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 131kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 package French Tarbais Beans rinsed and picked over
  • 1 piece Ventrèche
  • 1/4 cup Duck Fat at room temperature, plus more as needed
  • 3 Duck Leg Confit cut in half at the joint
  • 1 container Duck and Veal Demi-Glace
  • 1 package Duck and Armagnac Sausage
  • 1 link French Garlic Sausage
  • Additional Ingredients: water as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1 small onion peeled and cut in half
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 medium carrot coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Coarse salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 bouquet garni 5 parsley sprigs, 1 thyme sprig, 1 bay leaf, and about 10 peppercorns, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied

Instructions

  • Place the beans in a large non-reactive container, covering them with cool water by several inches. Let them soak at room temperature for 24 hours, checking water levels periodically. The beans absorb water during soaking.
  • Drain the beans and transfer them to a large, heavy pot. Remove the plastic sleeve from the ventrèche, slice it in half (reserving the second half), and place one half on top of the beans. Add garlic, carrot, and bouquet garni. Add the smashed garlic and cut onion to the pot. Pour enough cool water to cover the mixture by at least 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until the beans are barely tender, about 1 hour.
  • While the beans cook, prepare the meats. Brown the duck & Armagnac sausages in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cut each link into thirds. Halve the garlic sausage (reserving one half for later) and slice the remaining half into ¼” pieces. Cut each duck leg in half at the joint.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • When the beans are cooked, discard the bouquet garni and onion. Place the ventrèche on a cutting board to cool. Drain the bean mixture, discarding the liquid. Season the beans with about ½ teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper. Slice the cooled ventrèche into ¼” chunks and set aside.
  • In a large measuring cup, whisk together demi-glace, tomato paste, and 1¾ cups of water. Set aside.
  • Grease the bottom and sides of a 4-quart enameled cast-iron pot with about a tablespoon of duck fat. Spread half of the bean mixture evenly. Layer duck legs, browned duck sausages, chopped ventrèche, and sliced garlic sausage over the beans. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of duck fat. Cover with the remaining beans. Pour the demi-glace mixture evenly over the cassoulet, then drizzle about 2 tablespoons of duck fat over the top.
  • Bake uncovered until beans are very tender and cassoulet is hot and bubbling, about 2½ – 3 hours. Check occasionally to ensure beans are not drying out. The texture should resemble a thick stew. If it seems too dry, add liquid (stock, demi-glace, or water). You may need to cut the crust and add liquid at least once before it’s fully heated through.
  • Cassoulet can be prepared ahead up to this point, then cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.
  • Increase oven to 400 degrees F. Continue cooking cassoulet until the top is nicely browned and a crust forms, about 45 minutes. If cassoulet isn’t heated through, cut open the crust, pour in an additional ½ cup of water, and continue cooking until hot throughout.
  • Serve immediately, ensuring each guest receives an equal proportion of beans to meats.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 344IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3mg
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