How to Make It
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