Buckle up for a ride to the French countryside as Chef Erica Wides and comedian Mia Jackson show you how to create a classic Cassoulet. Your friends may judge you, but who cares? Just means more delicious duck for you! In this episode you'll learn:
- The sultry pleasures of getting roasted in your own fat
- The correct way to cut an onion, without a visit to urgent care! (sponsors wanted)
- That this world has 'special hogs' that deserve to be treated as such
- And...How to cook Cassoulet!! (Recipe Below)
1 pound white beans; flageolet, cannellini, navy, or great northern. Soaked overnight OR 2 cans white beans, not drained.
1 head garlic, cut crosswise in half
1 small onion, halved
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme, separated
2-3 ounces slab bacon or bacon ends, cut into 1” chunks
1-2 duck confit legs, or fresh duck legs
2 boneless, center cut pork chops or smoked pork chops
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup bread crumbs or panko
Olive oil or bacon fat as needed
Thyme leaves as desired for garnish
Step 1, the beans:
If using canned beans, skip this step and proceed to step 2.
If using dried beans: Drain the soaked beans and place them in a large, deep saucepan. Using the cloves like tacks, pin the bay leaf to one cut side of an onion half. Add both halves of onion to bean pot. Cut garlic crosswise and add to pot, along with 2 sprigs of thyme. Cover with at least 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. When cooked, leave the beans in the liquid to cool. Discard the onion but reserve the garlic.
Step 2, the meats:
Place a large, deep sauté pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces. Cook until the bacon is browned and releasing some fat. Set the bacon aside, season the duck legs and pork chops with salt and pepper and brown the duck and pork in the bacon fat on all sides. Make sure the duck skin is nice and browned. Set the meats aside.
Step 3, the rest of it:
Preheat the oven to 375. Add the diced onions and tomato paste to the pan and sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and the tomato paste darkens. Add the remaining 2 sprigs thyme.
Return all the meats and bacon to the pan. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the pot, then add enough bean liquid to cover the meats and beans completely. If you need more liquid, add water or chicken stock as needed to cover by 2 inches. Add the reserved garlic halves from the beans and bring the pan to a simmer. Cover the pan, then place in the oven.
Cook for 1- 1 1/2 hours or until the meats are very tender.
Step 4, finishing:
Once the meats are very tender, combine the bread crumbs and olive oil or bacon fat in a small bowl until the crumbs look like damp sand. Spread the crumbs over the cassoulet, then return to the oven uncovered, for another 20-30 minutes, or until the crumbs are browned and the edges look deeply browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve, garnished with a sprinkle of thyme leaves as desired and serve to your judgy friends