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Award Winning Cassoulet Recipe

Tarbais bean stew, smoked Toulouse pork sausage duck confit, garlic

Cassoulet is a slow-cooking casserole that originates from the South of France. This recipe is certainly for the more advance cook, but well worth it if you are cooking for a crowd that would appreciate a more refined dish.

Chef Alexander Burger from Bar Boulud’s Cassoulet was one of the winning dishes at D’Artagnan’s Fourth Annual Cassoulet War.

25 Slow-Cooker Soups


For the confit:

  • 1 whole duck about 4 lbs with gizzards or 4 duck legs
  • ½ Cup Kosher or Sea salt
  • 1 Teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 dried bay leaf
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 4 Cups rendered duck fat
  • 1 clove garlic cut in half
  • 6 sprigs thyme

For the broth:

  • 6 Cups water (Or Chicken Stock)
  • 1 whole Carrot
  • 1 whole Onion, cut in half
  • 1 whole Celery stalk
  • 1 sachet (Head Garlic, 2 cloves, 1 tsp black pepper corns, 1 fresh bay leaf, 8 sprig thyme, 1 sprig rosemary)
  • Neck & Remaining duck bones

For the cassoulet:

  • 1.5 lb Tarbais beans, or cannellini (Soaked overnight)
  • 1 Iberico Ham Bone
  • 1.5 Pounds Pork Skin, fat removed and julienne
  • 1 Pound slab bacon, lardons
  • 4 Toulouse Sausages (Or pork sausage without fennel)
  • 1 duck confit (or 4 legs) duck heart and gizzards
  • 4 Teaspoons duck fat
  • 1 Cup carrot, medium dice (about the same size as beans)
  • 2 Cups onion, medium dice (about the same size as beans)
  • 1 Cup celery, medium dice (about the same size as beans)
  • 1 Cup tomato, medium dice, peeled and seeded
  • 2 Teaspoons garlic, sliced
  • 1 Teaspoon tomato paste
  • Bouquet Garnis (1 Bay leaf ½ t corriander seed, 4 sprigs flat leaf parsley, 3 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig rosemary, 1 sprig oregano, 1 leaf sage, bundled together and tied with a strip of green leek)


For the confit:

Separate duck into 6 pieces. 2 Breasts bone in, 2 Wings, 2 Thighs. Pat Dry. Be sure to reserve all bones and gizzards. In a mixing bowl combine sea salt, peppercorns, coriander, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, and 8 sprigs of thyme. Rub the salt mixture into the side of the duck with the meat and place the fat side up. Store overnight uncovered.

Preheat oven to 250ºF. Rinse the cure off of the duck with cold water. Pat dry. Bring a 13x3 inch cast iron pan up to low heat and place the duck skin side down. Render the fat slowly, after 10 minutes bring the heat up to medium. Once the duck skin is golden brown gently flip the duck pieces with tongs and cover completely with the rendered duck fat. Add the additional garlic and thyme. Bring to a boil, cover and put into a 250ºF oven for 1.5 hours. Be sure that the duck is tender but not totally falling off of the bone.

Remove pan from oven. Keep the duck in the fat and bring to room temperature. (about 1 hour) Remove duck from the pan, reserve 2 cups of the fat and put the rest in the refrigerator to cool.

For the broth:

Bring all of the ingredients to a boil and let simmer for one hour. Be sure to skim any excess fat or impurities using a ladle.

After one hour, strain the liquid and discard the duck bones and vegetables. Return the liquid back to pot and keep hot.

For the cassoulet:

Gently poach the ham bone, pork skin, and bacon for 10 minutes in the hot broth. Add sausages and continue poaching for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and remove all meats, placing them in a separate plate to cool. Reserve liquid and set aside.

Preheat oven to 250ºF. Heat a 14x11x5 inch Le Cruset Dutch oven to medium heat on the stove. Add carrot, onion, and celery sweat until vegetables are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for another two minutes, add tomato paste and mix well. After add Chopped tomato.  
Add beans to the vegetables and cover with about 6C of the Broth or until the beans are covered. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for an hour or until the beans are ¾ of the way cooked.
Remove Dutch oven from the stove and add the duck legs, sausages, bacon, pork skin, and ham bone. Add Bouquet garnis. Cover with liquid about ¾ of the way up and put in oven for two hours. After 2 hours adjust seasoning and turn the oven up to 350ºF so that the meat can begin to caramelize. Once the beans are cooked thoroughly, and the meat is tender then season the broth and serve.