Cassoulet, that most classic of classic French peasant dishes. It’s beans, meat and fat, what could be more simple? Well if you’ve ever read the full recipe for a traditional on in the bible of French cooking Larousse Gastronomique, you’ll know it’s far from simple, encompassing numerous steps and hours of cooking. Beautiful as a traditionally made Cassoulet is, who really has the time to make one, or even a proper cassoulet to cook it in (the dish is named after the pot it’s cooked in)? Most recipes you’ll find are abbreviated versions but these can run to three hours or so at times. This cheats version will take you 1.5 hours tops, but still delivers that unctuous mouth feel and flavour.
Ingredients for 2
2 confit duck legs or 4 confit duck sleeves – excess fat removed
2 pork belly strips
2 good quality sausages
1 x 400g tin of Haricot Beans – drained
1 onion – diced
4 cloves of garlic – crushed and roughly chopped
250ml chicken Stock (homemade preferably)
Handful of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 155 C fan (175 C conventional).
Meanwhile heat a cast iron casserole pot on the hob with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. When hot gently fry the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper till they’re soft. Add the chicken stock, the thyme and the beans and simmer for 10 minuets. While the beans are simmering, sear the pork belly strips in a hot frying pan with a little oil – about 20 seconds on each side. When the beans have been simmering for 10 minutes, add the sausages, pork belly (and it’s cooking fat/juices in the pan) and duck; make sure they’re pushed down into the the beans to surround them as best as possible. Place the pot in the oven and cook for 45 minutes with the lid on. After 45 minutes, remove the lid and allow to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, mix in the parsley and serve with a slight hit of Dijon mustard.