Make Ahead

Traditional French Cassoulet

February  6, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Cassoulet can be an intimidating dish to consider but you can make an authentic one with a small amount of skill and a tremendous amount of patience. It takes time—that's the only requirement. —Belle Année

What You'll Need
  • For the bean and vegetable base:
  • 400 grams dried haricot, cannellini, or navy beans soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 pound uncut bacon
  • 20 grams goose or duck fat
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled but not chopped
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage
  • 1 plum tomato (fresh or canned), cut into eighths
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 1 clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • To assemble the cassoulet:
  • 4 duck confit legs
  • 40 grams duck fat
  • 50 grams bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, to serve
  1. Drain the beans that have been soaking overnight, discarding the water, and tip them into a large Dutch oven (or other oven-proof pot). Cut the bacon into lardons and add to the beans. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil for 15 to 20 minutes then drain the beans and lardons in a colander in the sink discarding the cooking water. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oven to 250° F.
  3. Return the Dutch oven to the stove top over medium-low heat. Add the goose or duck fat and sweat the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bouquet garni and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sausage along with the beans and lardons and pour in 1.2 liters (2 pints) water or just enough to barely cover the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil, skim off the scum that rises to the surface, then add the salt, pepper, clove, and lemon juice.
  4. Move the pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring once, half-way through. After two hours the beans will be soft and creamy in texture and some of the water will have evaporated and the liquid will have thickened. If this is not the case then add another 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven. Bury the duck legs in the beans and sprinkle over the duck fat, bread crumbs, and garlic. Return it to the oven and cook for a further 2 hours.
  6. Serve in a shallow, large bowl with each person receiving one duck leg and a large serving of the beans and vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with a rustic French red wine, preferably a red Burgundy.
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Jessica Bride is the creator of Belle Année, a food and lifestyle blog dedicated to eating, drinking, living and loving in New Orleans and London.

10 Reviews

Reeshiez February 1, 2018
Can I substitute something else for the bacon? We don't eat pork
Luce N. May 22, 2017
Hello! Really looking forward to making this! Quick question. (Sorry if this is a silly one...) The recipe calls for 4 confit duck legs. I've just looked at the recipe for Confit of Duck Legs, and I'm guessing you don't mean that I must confit the legs before adding them to this recipe. But then I thought, "What if I'm wrong..." So just to check, does "confit" refer to a cooking requirement or something else. Many thanks!
kschurms February 2, 2018
Yes, you have to use pre-confit'd (not a word) duck or chicken legs
Luce N. February 2, 2018
Thank you, kschurms! Very nice of you to clarify that. I have now fully researched the subject of confit'ing (also not a word, I guess) and wow, it's delicious, and I've ordered it many time, but I never knew how it was made. Kind of a serious project! But I'm still going to attempt it!
Dina L. January 10, 2019
Luce N. Hi, my friend Bruno is a chef born and raised in France. We were both living in a bush community in Alaska at the time he prepared this dish for me so confit duck legs weren’t something he could easily get. He roasted a whole duck in advance and then used that duck fat in the recipe and just quartered the duck and put the quarters in the beans to finish. It was delicious and no one seemed to mind that they weren’t confit legs as the recipe calls for. Happy cooking!
Cheers.. Dina
Luce N. January 10, 2019
Thank you, Dina L! What a lovely and interesting reply! I’m in exceedingly warm Sydney at the moment, but when I return home to good old chilly London next week, I’m going to enjoy making this! And we’ll drink a toast to you for lending the advice!
Louise C. February 13, 2019
You can get confit'd duck legs from D'Artagnan.
kschurms February 15, 2016
This was incredibly easy to follow, and it turned out excellent. Substituted the duck for chicken, and it was still delicious. We had this on valentines day, and followed it up with chocolate mousse for dessert.
alicia January 25, 2016
Lovely recipe! I've always avoided making cassoulet at home, but this was relatively hands free and tasty.
luvcookbooks February 14, 2015
The most manageable looking cassoulet recipe I have seen. Thanks for adding!