A Soulful dish from the South of france
Our goal, to faithfully reproduce the recipe, comes with the advice that one must check the cassoulet throughout the cooking process to ensure that it doesn’t dry out. Don’t be afraid to break through the crust to add more water if the beans are too dry. Preparing a proper bouquet garni is another step that’s worth the time and effort. One cannot help but feel a sense of reverence for the process, the assembly, and enjoyment of this dish.
Typically, cassoulet is paired a sturdy, well-structured wine such as a Côtes-du-Rhône or a Languedoc red. We paired ours with an elegant and earthy Pinot Noir from our North Block. Our Freedom Hill Pinot Noir also has the structure, depth, and body to stand up to the rich flavors of this dish.
3 pounds French Coco Tarbais beans (cannellini are a fine substitute), rinsed and soaked
in water overnight
12 ounces whole Ventrèche (French pancetta)
1 medium-sized head of garlic, peeled
2 medium Spanish or yellow onions, diced
1 carrot, chopped into 1′ pieces
1 Bouquet garni assembled from 5 parsley sprigs, 3 celery leaves, 2 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, ten
peppercorns, 3 cloves, and 3 juniper berries wrapped in cheesecloth and tied
6 Duck legs confit
1 pound Armagnac or Toulouse sausage cut into thirds
1 pound French garlic sausage, cut into 1/4″ pieces
12 ounces duck or veal demi-glace dissolved in 3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup duck fat, at room temperature
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 A large Dutch oven or ceramic casserole dish
Place beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Leave them to soak overnight at room temperature.
- Drain beans then add them to a large stock pot along with the ventrèche, garlic, carrots, and bouquet garni. Cover the mixture with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are just tender, about 1 hour.
- Drain the mixture and discard the bouquet garni. Remove ventrèche and cut it into 1/4-inch cubes and set it aside. Season beans with salt and pepper to taste. Set them aside.
- Preheat oven to 325 °F.
- In a medium skillet over high heat, sautée the Armagnac and French garlic sausages with a dollop of duck fat, until just browned. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
- Use some of the duck fat to lightly grease a large dutch oven or casserole. Place half of the bean mixture in casserole. Add duck legs, browned sausages, and ventrèche, and rizzle with duck fat. Cover with the remaining bean mixture.
- Stir tomato paste into demi-glace and water mixture, stir until its completely dissolved. Pour evenly over the beans, then add the remaining duck fat.
- Bake until hot and bubbling, about 2 1/2 hours, checking occasionally, this step is critical, to make sure the beans don’t dry out. Add more water as needed.
- Serve piping hot with a generous glass of wine!
- *Recipe adapted from Chef Ariane Daguin.