Warming tasty bean cassoulet with confit duck! It may take time to make this recipe but it is so worth it. If you love traditional French food then do try it. It's winter comfort food at it's best!
I decided to make a duck confit. But first, what is a duck confit? It is made by cooking the duck legs slowly in fat, usually duck fat, the fat then solidifies and coats the duck, preserving it until you want to eat it. In the past it was a way of preserving food before there were refrigerators.
Is this confit duck cassoulet easy to make?
All this sounds like a lot of effort to go to, just to be able to then make a cassoulet, which itself is not a quick recipe. I have to be honest, if this had not been a Daring Cooks Challenge it is very unlikely I would ever have gone to these lengths just for one meal.
But, despite that, confit duck is something that I'd wanted to make for a long time, out of curiosity really. I'd heard it was good, but the idea of cooking something slowly in lots of fat scared me a little. Wouldn't the fat soak in and make the meat greasy? Wouldn't it be a bit unhealthy? What if I didn't do it properly and gave myself food poisoning?
Well, in the end it was my own choice, I could have gone down the vegetarian route. I'd read that the confit garlic was delicious. But that would have been a cop out. Sometimes we need a challenge to push ourselves to make things which are possible, but just a bit more effort.
What was the confit duck like?
So in the end I'm really glad I tried this. I loved the confit duck. It just fell off the bone and was really moist and delicious. Had the fat soaked in? Perhaps, but I didn't care and I'd happily eat it again. Actually I didn't use duck fat but olive oil in the end so I wouldn't advise using this recipe if you really do plan to keep the duck a while before eating it. I made the confit one day and then kept the pan in the fridge overnight before making the cassoulet the next day.
The Inspiration for this Recipe
But this post is not all about the confit. I also had to make a cassoulet. I decided not to follow the recipe provided as it looked really really long (three days) and I wasn't sure I would find enough time on enough days for all the stages. I instead chose a Raymond Blanc recipe as a basic guide.
Tinned or dried beans in a cassoulet?
Apart from making confit duck this challenge also taught me to use dried beans. I usually use canned beans as they are so much easier and I don't normally plan bean recipes the day before. They tend to be more last-minute affairs.
As I knew exactly when I was making this, I went the dried beans route and I'm glad I did. That bag of beans had been sitting in my cupboard for a good few months, and they did go deliciously soft and creamy in the cassoulet. The leftovers were also great heated up the next day.
What to do with the leftovers?
The leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Just reheat thoroughly in the microwave or oven before serving.
Cassoulet with Confit Duck
Ingredients for the Confit Duck
- 2 duck legs
- 2 garlic cloves
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Ingredients for the Cassoulet
- 1 carrot finely diced
- 1 celery stick finely diced
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tomato quartered
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 sausages diced
- 200 g dried cannellini beans
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1-2 cloves
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 slice stale bread blitzed in a food processor to make bread crumbs
How to Make Confit Duck
- Rub quite a bit of salt into the duck legs and put in the fridge overnight.
- Wash the salt off the legs. Dry them on kitchen paper. Season with salt and pepper. Cut the garlic in half and rub into the duck. Mix the herbs together and rub onto the duck legs as well.
- Put the duck, along with the herbs and garlic into a saucepan so it fits fairly snuggly. Pour olive oil over the top until the duck is just covered.
- Cook on the cooker top for about 5 hours. I used a high heat to begin with and as soon as a bubble appeared I lowered the heat to as low as it would go. There should be just one or two bubbles a minute.
- Let it cool then cover the pan and put it in the fridge if you are not using the duck immediately.
- When you want to use the duck, use kitchen roll to wipe the fat off.
How to Make the Cassoulet
- Soak the cannellini beans in a saucepan of water overnight.
- Rinse and then boil the beans for about 20 minutes. Then rinse again.
- In an oven-proof pan, heat some oil and cook the onion, carrot and celery for about five minutes.
- Add the bacon and sausages and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the diced tomato, garlic cloves, beans and herbs and cover with about 600ml of water.
- Bring to the boil and skim off any scum.
- Put in the oven uncovered at about 120°c. Take it out after an hour and give it a stir. Return and continue to cook for another hour.
- Take it out of the oven and this time bury the duck legs in the cassoulet. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and sprinkle on the breadcrumbs. Cook in the oven for another 2 hours, without stirring.
More Duck Recipes
Why not try my stir fried duck with asparagus and green beans?
Keep in Touch
Do let me know if you make this cassoulet with confit duck or any of my other recipes. I love to get feedback from readers.