This delicious duck dish is fancy enough to impress your friends while equally simple enough to serve up as a family supper. Made with classic French ingredients like Toulouse sausages, garlic, cannellini beans and fresh thyme, this dish is packed full of delicious flavours.
Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole containing meat, pork skin and white beans, originating in southern France. It is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. Wikipedia
- Duck or goose fat
- 6 Toulouse sausages
- 4 Celery sticks
- 3 Carrots
- 2 Onions halved and sliced
- 6 Confit duck legs
- 2 Garlic cloves crushed
- 200 g Lardons
- 2 Cans chopped tomatoes
- 150 ml Red wine
- 1 tsp Caster sugar
- 1 tsp Dried chilli flakes
- 1 Bay leaf
- 4-5 Bushy sprigs fresh thyme
- 400 g Can cannellini beans in water drained and rinsed
- 400 g Can butter beans in water drained and rinsed
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the garnish
- Handful fresh flatleaf parsley
- ½ Large orange zest only, finely grated
- Brush a large non-stick frying pan with the sunflower oil, using the tip of a pastry brush. Add the sausages to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, turning every now and then until nicely browned on all sides.
- Meanwhile, trim the celery and peel the carrots and cut them into diagonal slices about 1.5cm/½in thick.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Add the onions to the frying pan and cook with the sausages for 6-8 minutes, stirring regularly until softened and lightly browned.
- Trim the chicken thighs of any visible fat – we find a good pair of kitchen scissors does the job well – then cut the thighs in half.
- Add the garlic and chicken pieces to the pan with the sausages and onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning the chicken twice until coloured all over.
- Transfer everything to a large flameproof casserole dish.
- Stir in the gammon, celery, carrots, tomatoes, red wine and 300ml/½ pint cold water, then sprinkle over the caster sugar and chilli flakes. Stir in the bay leaf and thyme and season with lots of ground black pepper.
- Bring the cassoulet to a simmer on the hob, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 45 minutes.
- Take the casserole out of the oven and stir in all the beans. Cover with the lid again and put the dish back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
- Just before the cassoulet is ready, prepare the garnish. Chop the parsley roughly and toss with the orange zest in a small bowl.
- Serve large portions of the cassoulet in deep plates or wide bowls with a good sprinkling of the zesty parsley garnish on each one.