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How to make it

  • The day before you intend to serve the cassoulet, pick over the beans and cast aside any stones or grit or other curious objects. Rinse the beans in a colander and drain well. Dump the beans in a bowl and add enough water to cover by at least 3 inches. Let soak overnight.
  • The day you intend to serve the cassoulet, cut the duck into 8 pieces and trim off all visible fat and excess skin, reserving both the duck pieces and the excess duck fat and skin.
  • Cook the duck fat and skin in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until between 1/4 and 1/3 cup fat has rendered and is shimmering, golden and beautiful, maybe 4 minutes or so. Remove and discard the solid pieces of fat and skin. Season the duck pieces and the lamb with the salt and pepper.
  • Add the duck pieces to the skillet and sear them in the hot fat, turning to brown both sides. Transfer them to a plate. Repeat with the lamb pieces and then the sausage pieces.
  • Add the onion and celery to the fat in the skillet and sauté until lightly browned. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, and cloves and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the stock or broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  • Drain the beans. Layer the beans and meats, beginning and ending with the beans and alternating with the meat (4 layers of beans, 3 of meat), in a 6-quart slow cooker with an ovenproof insert. (Check the manufacturer’s instructions.)
  • Pour the hot liquid over the layers of beans and meat. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, 8 to 10 hours on low. (We found that 9 hours did the trick perfectly.)
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Mix the bread crumbs and parsley in a small bowl and scatter over the top of the cassoulet. Remove the insert from the slow cooker, place it on a baking sheet, and bake until the top is browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
  • Serve the cassoulet immediately. (You can cover and refrigerate the cassoulet for up to 5 days. Reheat gently in a low oven or on the stovetop over low heat.) DON'T SERVE SAME DAY - ALLOW TO MELD FLAVORS OVERNIGHT.
  • Source: a Chef's Journey take on a recipe from Leite's Culinarian newsletter.

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  • champagnetime 4 years ago
    Want to add a note to the recipe. As I noted in the ingredient list, I used 4 1/2-duck breasts plus 2 leg/thigh sections. Working on the leftovers, I'm finding just too much duck -there's no reason for this amount. Next time I'll just use the breast meat and omit the leg/thigh sections. Save some money and save having any bones at all in the dish. :)
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