Sitting duck – cheat’s cassouletJune 14, 2009
Today, with gloomy rainy cold weather and a heavily pregnant friend here for lunch en famille, we decided to go all-out on the winter stodge and revisit a deliciously easy duck cassoulet I made a few times years ago.
The cassoulet recipe is a great Brigitte Hafner dish, from Good Living in May 2004 – a very stained and blobbed-on bit of newsprint that lives in our big folder of cut-out recipes. The original has a whole fresh duck chopped up and roasted in pieces, instead of the traditional confit duck, which makes it not so pricy and still pretty easy, but today I went the total Convenience Cassoulet route with bought confit duck and canned beans, thereby bastardising this into an even simpler recipe which still packs an excellent punch.
Bless the internet, because I’ve just found the original Brigitte Hafner version here, and below is my even quicker version.
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 stick celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- handful parsley stalks, finely chopped
- 200g speck (or pork belly) chopped into chunks
- 2 x cans cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
- 4 x vac-packed confit duck legs (I bought this brand cos I happened to see them in the butcher over the road, but roasting hunks of duck as per the original recipe is not at all hard, just takes longer).
- 3 pork sausages cut into big chunks
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 1-2 cups coarse breadcrumbs
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- handful parsley & thyme, chopped
Heat oven or grill and brown or roast duck pieces until golden, reserving drippings, and set aside. If using confit duck legs, cut each in half at the thigh joint.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Saute onion, garlic, celery, carrot, parsley stalks in a little olive oil with a couple of pieces of the speck until soft and a little caramelised. Set aside.
- Brown speck pieces, then remove from pan and add to the mirepoix above with drained and rinsed beans.
- Brown sausage pieces in the same pan, then add tomatoes, and then the stock and wine and herbs, and turn off the heat.
- In a wide, deep casserole dish layer half the bean mixture, then half the duck pieces.
- Remove sausage and tomato from the stock and add half of it to the casserole.
- Repeat the layers, then add the stock & wine. There should be enough liquid to just cover the beans – if not, add water.
- Toss the breadcrumbs through the reserved duck drippings and spread in a thick layer over the top of the casserole dish.
- Bake uncovered for about 1 hour or longer, until the breadcrumbs have formed a thick golden crust.
Serve from the casserole at the table with a green salad.