Confit of Duck Breast and Sausage Cassoulet

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.

Sunset OCTOBER 2000

  • Yield: Makes 8 servings


  • 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.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 459
  • Calories from fat: 24%
  • Protein: 41g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 4.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 46g
  • Fiber: 24g
  • Sodium: 667mg
  • Cholesterol: 128mg

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Confit of Duck Breast and Sausage Cassoulet Recipe