Confit of Duck Breast and Sausage Cassoulet
Notes: For best results, boil beans first in water until almost tender to bite; at mile-high or higher altitudes, it may take 2 or more hours for the beans to reach this texture. However, you can cook the beans one day, then assemble the cassoulet and simmer in the slow-cooker the next.
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- Calories: 459
- Calories from fat: 24%
- Protein: 41g
- Fat: 12g
- Saturated fat: 4.1g
- Carbohydrate: 46g
- Fiber: 24g
- Sodium: 667mg
- Cholesterol: 128mg
- 1 pound dried Great Northern beans
- 4 or 5 boned duck breast halves (2 to 2 1/2 lb. total)
- About 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 pound thick-sliced bacon, chopped
- 2 onions (about 1 lb. total), peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
- 3 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
- 3/4 cup dry red wine such as Beaujolais Nouveau or Zinfandel
- 1 firm-ripe tomato (about 1/2 lb.), rinsed, cored, and chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1/2 pound pound garlic sausages, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- Duck cracklings (recipe follows)
- Thyme sprigs, rinsed
- 1. Sort beans and discard debris. Rinse beans, drain, and put into a 5- to 6-quart pan with 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Drain beans, discarding liquid; if making up to 1 day ahead, cover and chill. Put beans in a 4 1/2-quart or larger electric slow-cooker.
- 2. Meanwhile, pull and cut skin from duck breasts; reserve skin for cracklings (cover and chill up to 1 day). Place breasts in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the sugar, and mix; cover and chill at least 30 minutes but no longer than 1 hour. Rinse breasts well under cool running water; if making up to 1 day ahead, cover and chill. Cut meat into 1/2-inch chunks.
- 3. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir bacon until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. Add onions and garlic to bacon; stir often until onions begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth and wine; bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up browned bits from pan bottom. Pour onion-broth mixture into slow-cooker with beans. Add tomato, chopped thyme, pepper, and bay leaf; mix. Place duck pieces on the beans.
- 4. Cover and cook until beans and duck are very tender to bite, 5 to 6 hours on low, 4 to 5 hours on high. If there is more liquid than desired, uncover slow-cooker, turn heat to high, and simmer to concentrate the mixture, up to 30 minutes.
- 5. Stir sausage slices into cassoulet and cook until hot, 5 to 10 minutes. Ladle cassoulet into bowls, sprinkle equally with duck cracklings, and garnish with thyme sprigs.
- Nutritional analysis per serving without duck cracklings.
- Duck cracklings. Chop reserved duck skin (see preceding) into 1/4-inch pieces. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir skin until crisp and golden, 5 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt. When cool, wrap airtight; chill up to 1 day. Makes 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
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