When I started this blog, it quickly became both a place of experimentation and recording old favorites, a creative outlet where I could explore the food options as I moved from Kuala Lumpur to Cairo and then on to Dubai, even as I cooked and reminisced about family recipes. For all the things I missed when left behind, I discovered new options that had not been available to me. Two years ago, we were newly in Cairo and I wrote a post about butchering a whole duck, using the breasts for one meal, making confit out of the legs and thighs and then roasting and simmering the carcass for rich stock. Eventually, when my mother came to visit, that duck confit was turned into a classic cassoulet, one of the tastiest dishes ever concocted, but with some of the ugliest photos ever snapped so it never saw light of day in this space. I’ve since made it a couple of times but somehow never got around to posting those either.
When I saw that the theme for today’s Sunday Supper was Beantastic, I knew cassoulet would have to be revisited yet again. The photos still aren’t spectacular but I think the richness of the dish shines through. Cassoulet is meant to be peasant fare but, unless you have a duck you've hunted for yourself to make confit, that one ingredient is kind of expensive to buy. Let me say this, though, it’s totally worth it, not just for what it adds to the cassoulet but also for the extra duck fat you get that sits around the confit duck in the can or jar. Save that stuff! It’s fabulous!
Many thanks to Tammi from Momma's Meals for hosting this great Beantastic event!
1 lb or 450g dried white beans
1 medium onion
2 large onions
10 cloves garlic
7 oz or 200g slab bacon (I like smoked bacon. Some purists say it should be unsmoked. Pffft to them.)
2 bay leaves
Several fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/4 lbs or 540g fresh pork sausage
4 leg/thighs duck confit (You can make your own. It’s not hard, just time consuming. Or buy the ones in a big can or jar.
Soak your dried beans overnight or cover amply with boiling water and leave to soak for one hour.
Meanwhile, cut your medium onion into quarters and cut your slab bacon into chunks.
Pour off the soaking water and put the beans into a large pot with the thyme sprigs, the quartered onion, the bacon chunks and one bay leaf. Cover with fresh water and cook until tender over a low fire. Stir the pot occasionally and add more water, if necessary. You do not want the beans drying out.
Drain the beans and bacon and reserve the cooking liquid. You can discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf but the onion has probably melted away to almost nothing so I wouldn’t worry about it.
Scrape the fat off of the confit duck legs and thighs and save it in a clean jar in the refrigerator.
Slice your other two onions and your garlic and slowly caramelize them in a saucepan over a low heat, with a drizzle of olive oil or, better yet, some of the lovely duck fat you just saved.
If you are just sitting around, waiting on your beans to cook to tenderness, you can wait till the onions and garlic are caramelized and use the same pan to brown the sausage. Or use another pan and get on with it, if your beans are already ready.
When your onions/garlic are well caramelized, eyeball the pan (or the bowl into which you have transferred them to reuse the pan for the sausage) and mentally divide it into three major portions with a little leftover for the final topping.
Brown your sausage in a little olive oil or a little duck fat.
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.
In a cassole or casserole dish, start with a good drizzle olive oil or duck fat, then add almost one-third of the caramelized onions/garlic. Top with half of the cooked beans and tuck the browned sausage into the beans. Sprinkle with salt and few good grinds of fresh black pepper. Add on some more (perhaps almost one-third again) caramelized onions.
Now spoon on the rest of the beans, the boiled bacon chunks and season again with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.
For the final layer, add almost all of the remaining caramelized onions and top with the confit duck and then the very last of the caramelized onions. Pour in some of the reserved bean cooking liquid to cover the beans and come half way up the duck. Not pictured here but you should: Tuck a bay leaf into the liquid.
Bake in your preheated oven for about an hour or until the duck is lovely, golden and crispy on the outside and the beans melt in your mouth.
Serve with a hearty red wine and some crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Check out all the Beantastic recipes we have for you today!
- Avocado Hummus by Our Good Life
- Bean Ragoût and Crisped Mushrooms by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Black Bean Chili Nachos by Brunch with Joy
- Chickpea Fries (Panisse) by Curious Cuisiniere
- Five Layer Greek Hummus Dip by Food Done Light
- Pizza Roasted Chickpeas by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
- White Bean and Basil Spread by Peaceful Cooking
- Butternut Squash White Bean Soup by Magnolia Days
- Chickpea and Bean Soup by Momma's Meals
- Classic Cassoulet by Food Lust People Love
- Navy Bean & Kale Soup by An Appealing Plan
- Navy Bean Soup by The Messy Baker
- Slow Cooker Pork and Bean Stew by Nosh My Way
- Kielbasa and White Bean Soup by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Spicy Sausage, White Bean and Spinach Soup by Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
- Bean and Cornbread Salad by MealDiva
- Clams with Black Beans by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Gold Rush Baked Beans by Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Maple Brown Sugar Baked Beans by Carrie's Experimental Kitchen
- Pinto Beans With Cornbread Croutons by Nik Snacks
- Whiskey Bacon Baked Beans by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Arugula Tomato and Beans Flatbread by Family Foodie
- Bean and Bacon Tacos by Jane's Adventures in Dinner
- Beefy Lima Bean Casserole by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Colombian Red beans - Frisoles Antioquenos by Palatable Pastime
- Italian Beans and Greens by Simply Healthy Family
- Honey-Lime Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos by The Chunky Chef
- One Pot Tuscan Style Garlic Herb Pork Chops by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Orecchiette with White Beans and Swiss Chard by Delaware Girl Eats
- Skillet Black Beans and Pork by Cooking Chat
- Ultimate Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by Pancake Warriors
- White Bean Ragout, Frisèe, and a Fried Egg by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean Bark by Love and Confections
- Flourless Almond Joy Cookie Dough Ball by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Flourless Mocha Brownies by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies by Wallflour Girl
- Gluten-Free Donuts by NinjaBaker
- Pecan Praline Black Bean Brownies by Rhubarb and Honey
- Soy Awesome Cookies 2.0 by What Smells So Good?
- Strawberry Coco-Cacao Bean Smoothie by Dandelion Greens
- Sweet Bean Pie by Shockingly Delicious
- Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee by Noshing With The Nolands
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