Tarbais, or French coco, beans are traditionally used in France for cassoulet, a warming winter dish with sausages and meat. A type of pole bean, Tarbais beans come from a small village in the south of France where they were traditionally planted at the same time as corn, so that the corn stalks act as a kind of stake for the beans.
This dish served at Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena, Calif. is a wintertime customer favorite. — Allison Beck
- 250 grams pork skin (optional)
- 500 grams pork belly, cubed
- 1 kilogram Tarbais beans, soaked overnight
- 2 large onions, 1 whole, 1 chopped
- 12 whole cloves
- 1 bouquet garni, made with 12 fresh parsley sprigs, 6 large fresh thyme sprigs, and 4 bay leaves
- 200 grams duck fat
- 500 grams lamb shanks
- 1 cured garlic sausage
- 500 grams Toulouse sausage
- 2 pieces duck leg confit
- 2 carrots, chopped
- ½ garlic head, minced
- 6 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 liter chicken stock
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup bread crumbs, preferably panko
Soak skin for 12 hours or overnight if using.
Sauté pork belly to render some of the fat in a large pot. Add the soaked beans to the pot and enough water to cover over by 2 inches. Stud one whole onion with the cloves and add to the pot along with the bouquet garni and 50 grams duck fat. Cook for 1 ½ hours over low heat on the stovetop.
Roast the lamb shanks in a 400 degree oven using 50 grams duck fat. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle cooked lamb into the beans.
In a large sauté pan, cook the sausages and the confit over medium heat, crisping the skin of the duck and cooking the sausages through, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside. Add the chopped onions, carrots, and garlic to pan and sauté until onions are translucent. Stir sautéed vegetables and tomatoes into the beans. Nestle sausages and confit on top, making sure confit is not crushed. Cook for 1-2 hours in oven at 350 degrees, making sure to keep beans wet by adding water or chicken stock as needed.
Taste for salt and pepper. Layer the beans and meats in a large clay pot for presentation. Add 2 tablespoon of walnut oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with the panko and 100 grams duck fat and place under broiler for 30 minutes to toast the panko and heat through.