Traditionally we use a very specific small dried white bean called lingots for this dish but you’ll be just fine if you use just lima beans or any other type of dried white bean. You have to soak the dried beans in a generous portion of water overnight, that’s really necessary to make sure that the beans get cooked through. So don’t forget to soak the beans!
Cassoulet Recipe with Confit Duck
I’m not making a classic cassoulet. No, this time am using a chunk of smoked bacon for my bean stew and a gorgeous confit leg of duck. The traditional recipe for a cassoulet originally contains all the tougher and less elegant pieces of pork such as trotters, head, knuckles or ham hocks with bones. Cassoulet can also contain lamb tough. Whatever is available actually. You will also find it with (smoked) sausage and pork belly. It’s a typical peasant dish: chuck the whole lot of beans and meat in a huge casserole, add water and let it simmer all day long over a low fire until the day’s work on the fields is over.
In some regions in France this cassoulet is often sprinkled with breadcrumbs in the end and baked in the oven some more to get a crunchy crust on top. Think I will try that next time, sounds delicious!
Another French classic I love: my cassoulet recipe! A simple white bean and bacon stew with confit duck… top notch French winter comfort food!
- 2 confit duck legs
- 3,5 oz chunk smoked bacon (100 g), diced
- 10 oz dried white beans (300 g), soaked overnight
- ½ small onion
- 3 medium garlic cloves
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or dried rosemary
- 1 small fresh carrot
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter or goose fat
- 3 cups beef stock (720 ml)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 clove
- Soak the beans in a generous amount of water overnight.
- Peel and chop the garlic, onion and carrot. Add them to a large casserole with the bay leaves, clove, rosemary and goose fat or butter. Then season with a dash of pepper and salt.
Place the casserole over medium heat until hot. Gently fry the vegetables for 2 minutes. Add the bacon.
Bake the ingredients for 2 minutes. Then drain the soaked beans. Add them to the casserole.
- Stir the ingredients well. Pour it all in a large baking dish. Add the tomato paste and the beef stock. The beans should be submerged.
- Place the dish in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) for 2 hours until almost tender. Add extra beef stock or water if necessary. Halfway through cooking time, stir the beans. Once the beans are cooked, add the duck legs to the bean stew (bury them under the hot beans) and put the dish back in the oven for another hour.
Then check if the beans are smooth. Check the seasoning. Add extra pepper or salt to taste. Put the dish back in the hot oven if the beans need more cooking. Once the cassoulet is ready, scoop the beans onto deep plates. Top with a confit duck leg. Drizzle with the remaining juices in the baking dish. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot.
Cassoulet is a French specialty of the Pyrenees mountains region between France and Spain. Three cities are well known for their cassoulet recipe: Toulouse, Carcassonne and Castelnaudary. Each one of them claims that they serve the most classic cassoulet. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that they will all be delicious!
I prepare this classic French dish a lot. I can’t find lingots beans here in Spain but I use a Spanish type of dried white beans from the Castilla and Leon region (from the la Bañeza village) that is absolutely perfect as well. What I do add to the cassoulet the makes it very traditional is duck fat. Goose or pork fat is also perfect, as long as it’s a creamy type of lard. That’s what gives the cassoulet its rich and creamy velvety texture.
Both the hubs and I are absolute bean lovers. How about you? I can put just about any type of bean dish on the table and it will go down without even one single word. Soups, salads, dips, stews… How about my Italian white bean soup with mustard and sage? Now there’s another gorgeous winter meal!
What are the health benefits of white beans?
Are white beans nutritious? Are they really as healthy as well all think? Beans are packed with protein, fiber, B vitamins, minerals and are low in fat and sugar. Besides beans digest slower which gives you the feeling of a full stomach for much longer. Perfect ingredient to add to your diet if you want to loose some weight! That’s why beans are a staple ingredients in low carb diets.
There are many types of dried beans. Have you noticed how many if you take a look in your local supermarket? Kidney beans, white beans, black beans, split peas… You name it, they have it. That’s what I love in American supermarkets: there you can find there great mixed bean bags. Take a look at my 15 bean soup with ham hock and you will know what I’m talking about. Love the variety of the mix! Plus it looks so colorful.
I always soak dried beans for a couple of hours to one night before I use them. Some chefs and bloggers claim that beans cook faster without soaking. I have no idea whether that actually works. All I know is that beans are super tender every time I soak them before cooking.
Depending on what type of dried bean you are using, some beans need quite some time to get tender and super smooth and soft. That’s why it makes dried beans like these a perfect ingredient to prepare in a slow cooker. You can make the cassoulet recipe above in a slow cooker as well by the way, goes without saying. It’s all up to you!