Black-eyed peas stand in for the white beans used in the traditional French dish. Be sure to continue simmering the pea mixture after removing the duck to cool so the final texture will be thick and rich tasting.
Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Increase heat to medium-high.
Sprinkle duck with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add 3 duck legs to drippings in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining duck. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mushrooms, celery, and carrot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes or until very tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in broth, peas, 1 tablespoon thyme, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Return duck to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and 20 minutes or until duck is tender, slightly mashing beans occasionally with a fork or potato masher. Remove duck from pan; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; shred. Discard bones. Return meat to pan. Simmer 20 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Sprinkle with bacon.
Wine note: The rustic flavors of this cassoulet will benefit from a red wine that pays tribute to the dish's French peasant roots. A basic Rhône red, like Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Côtes du Rhône 2005 ($13), has leathery, smoky aromas that echo the dish's earthy black-eyed peas and mushrooms, while the plummy black fruit and medium body balance nicely with dark meat duck legs. —Jeffery Lindenmuth
Commander's Palace Restaurant, New Orleans, Louisiana
I substituted turkey drumsticks for the duck (b/c I can't find duck at my supermarket), but otherwise followed the recipe as written. Like other reviewers said, you really need to let this simmer much longer than the recipe says if you want it to thicken. Because it's fairly time consuming, this isn't something I'd make all the time, but it was nice to try something different and the end result was quite delicious. If you don't skimp on the veggies, this makes a nice warm, hearty meal.
Not sure this was worth the trouble - though I also ended up with a whole duck, which I cut into pieces & skinned - very time consuming. The flavor was fine - "beany" my friends said. It took much longer to simmer down to where I thought it resembled the picture, but if you think of it as a bean soup, you'll be fine.
Superb! This dish took approximately 3 hours to make. I used a whole duck, but cut it into quarters. I also used 1lb dried black eyed peas that I prepared the day before by simmering for about 1 1/2 hrs with garlic cloves. Served with sauteed mustard greens. Next time I will also serve with french bread! This barely fit in my 5qt Le Creuset French Oven, but it does simmer down.
A friend made this for us last night. It was fabulous. Very flavorful. My husband & I have never had cassoulet before so don't know how it compares to other versions, & we don't know how hard it was to make. It was definitely a hit, taste- wise, though.
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