We got 2016 off to a great start by making a cassoulet on New Year’s Day. We had no plans and figured it was a good day to just stay in and cook all day. We tried a simplified version of Cassoulet about a year ago, but this year we wanted to try something more authentic. This cassoulet recipe from Saveur fit the bill.
We started it at about 9:30 in the morning, and we ate at around 5:30 in the afternoon. Technically, the adventure began at around 9 the night before when we started soaking the beans.
We followed the recipe pretty closely, halving it for just the two of us. We also used a bit more carrot than it called for, as well as a little extra garlic. Also, we opted for olive oil instead of the duck fat since the dish seemed rich enough. The recipe calls for canned whole tomatoes, but we had leftover canned diced tomatoes and used those. So we ended up with something like:
- 1/2 lb. dried great northern beans
- olive oil
- 10 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 1 large ham hocks
- 1/2 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1″cubes
- 1⁄4 lb. pancetta, cubed
- 2 sprigs oregano
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup whole peeled diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cups chicken broth
- 1 confit duck legs
- 1/2 lb. pork sausages (we used bratwurst)
- 1 cups bread crumbs
The recipe isn’t particularly difficult, but it is time-consuming.
We let the beans soak overnight using the proportions suggested on the label.
The first step is to cook half the garlic, onions and carrots in olive oil over medium -high heat for about 10 minutes. Then add the ham hock and beans with their water and bring to a boil. Let that simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
Once that is done, take out the ham and let cool before cutting off the meat. Discard the bones and skin. Add the meat back to the pot and set aside.
Then, in a dutch oven, brown the pork cubes in olive oil over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes. Next add the pancetta and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the other half of the garlic, onions and carrots and cook for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Tie together the oregano, thyme and bay leaves and add along with the tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes until the liquid thickens.
Add wine and cook until the liquid reduced by about half.
Add broth, bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered until liquid thickens, about an hour.
While that it cooking, prepare the next steps and heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Sear the duck leg in olive oil over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Then brown the sausages in the same pan for about 8 minutes. Remove meat from the duck leg. When the sausage is done, remove from pan and cut into 1/2″ slices.
When the pork stew is done, stir in the duck meat and sausage.
The original recipe calls for transferring everything into a casserole dish, but since we halved it, everything fit nicely in the dutch over, so we were able to just use that.
Cover with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake, uncovered, for 3 hours. Then raised the heat to 500 degrees and cook for another 5 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.
For Christmas, I had given Holly a couple of cans of Underwood Pinot Noir as a stocking stuffer. I didn’t know anything about the wine but thought it would be fun for her to get wine in her stocking. As it turned out, the wine was pretty good and paired nicely with the cassoulet.
The cassoulet was delicious and decadent and a perfect holiday treat. This could be a new New Year’s Day tradition.