I have made this dish many times and my family loves it. We have an uncommon cold snap today in sunny FLorida, and it just said cassoulet t me. I use the lamb, duck and bacon from the supermarket, although I do use boneless duck breast as my kids prefer it this way. I get garlic sausage at a local polish butcher. Fresh bread crumbs mixed with melted butter make all the difference in the topping. I love to serve this with a rustic crusty bread, crisp new green salad and good Pinot Noir. I recomend this dish for company, I divide it into individual caserole dishes before putting on the bread crumb topping and browning as this makes a nicer presentation.
Cassoulet serves a large gathering, and leftovers reheat well. Spicy precooked Italian sausage or Polish kielbasa are a close match to the lively garlic sausage from southwestern France traditionally used in this dish. Cassoulet can be prepared two days ahead and refrigerated. Top with breadcrumbs and finish in the oven before serving.
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- Calories: 323
- Calories from fat: 0.0%
- Fat: 14.4g
- Saturated fat: 4.6g
- Monounsaturated fat: 4.4g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2g
- Protein: 27.1g
- Carbohydrate: 20g
- Fiber: 7.1g
- Cholesterol: 79mg
- Iron: 2.9mg
- Sodium: 821mg
- Calcium: 88mg
- 1/4 cup salt
- 6 (8-ounce) duck leg quarters
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 thick-cut bacon slices, sliced crosswise into (1/2-inch-thick) strips
- 1 (3/4-pound) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into (1-inch) cubes
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato puree
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 4 (15-ounce) cans organic Great Northern beans, drained
- 8 ounces cooked spicy Italian sausage, diagonally sliced
- 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1. Rub salt evenly over duck; cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
- 2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon to pan; cook 7 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add lamb to drippings in pan; cook 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove lamb from pan, and set aside.
- 3. Preheat oven to 300°.
- 4. Rinse duck with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Add half of duck, skin side down, to pan; cook over medium heat 15 minutes or until golden brown. Turn duck over, and cook 10 minutes or until browned and fat under skin is melted. Remove duck from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining duck, reserving 1 tablespoon duck fat; set duck aside. Add onion and pepper to pan; cook 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato puree and garlic; cook 1 minute. Return lamb to pan. Nestle duck into lamb mixture; add broth and 2 cups water. Cover and bake at 300° for 2 1/2 hours or until lamb and duck are very tender. Remove duck from pan; let stand until tepid. Remove skin from duck; discard. Cut duck legs in half through the joint. Return duck to lamb mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.
- 5. Increase oven temperature to 375°.
- 6. Stir 2 cans of beans into lamb mixture. Add bacon, sausage, and duck; top mixture with remaining 2 cans of beans. Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over top. Cover and cook 1 hour and 10 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
- Wine note: Traditionally, a rustic red from the south of France—a wine with the requisite meatiness and earthiness to mirror the duck and beans—is served with cassoulet. I love the Perrin & Fils Gigondas "La Gille" 2005 (Gigondas, France), $28, which is seductively earthy and has wonderful flavors of cherry jam. —Karen MacNeil
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