This is our not entirely traditional take on the famed dish originally from the Languedoc region, which includes charcuterie in the form of duck confit, sausages and pork belly. There's a bit of work involved, but you can prepare the confit duck and sausages ahead before they're braised in this spectacular feast. Serve it with a green salad dressed with Sherry vinaigrette, and start at least two days ahead to cure the duck and make the sausages.
- 250 gm dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in plenty of water
- 80 gm belly bacon, cut into lardons
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 400 gm canned tomato polpa or chopped canned tomatoes
- 350 ml chicken stock
- 1 rosemary sprig
- To serve: chopped flat-leaf parsley and crusty bread
- 500 gm well-chilled pork shoulder, trimmed of sinew and cut into 10cm pieces
- 100 gm well-chilled pork back-fat, cut into 10cm pieces (see note)
- Large pinch of ground allspice
- 200 gm natural pork casing, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained
- 4 duck Marylands
- 100 gm fine salt
- 2 garlic cloves, bruised
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 4 cracked black peppercorns
- 760 gm duck fat, melted
- 150 gm medium-coarse sourdough crumbs
- 1½ tbsp duck fat, or olive oil
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1For Toulouse sausages, place pork and back-fat in a bowl with 1 tsp sea salt flakes and ¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain off liquid, pat meat and fat dry with paper towels, then cut into 1cm dice or pass through the coarse attachment of a mincer. Combine in a bowl with allspice and refrigerate until chilled (20-30 minutes). Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 2cm nozzle. Carefully slide pork casing over nozzle, leaving enough casing to tie a knot at the end, then gently squeeze piping bag so sausage mixture begins to fill casing. Continue until casing is filled, leaving a small length at the end to tie off (you may need to do this in a couple of batches). Pinch casing at 10cm-12cm intervals. Carefully twist casing to form firm sausages, alternating twisting direction each time. Tie off end and hang in refrigerator over a tray to dry slightly and allow flavours to develop (at least 6 hours or overnight). Raw sausages will keep refrigerated for 3 days.
- 2For duck confit, place duck in a non-reactive container, add salt, garlic, herbs and peppercorns, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight to cure. Preheat oven to 120C. Rinse duck, reserving garlic and herbs, pat dry with paper towels and place in a baking dish that holds it snugly. Pour duck fat over duck, add reserved herbs and cook in oven until meat is falling from the bone (2½-3 hours). Allow to cool completely in fat, then refrigerate until required. Duck confit will keep completely submerged in fat for a month.
- 3Drain cannellini beans, cover with plenty of water in a large saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook until tender (40-50 minutes). Drain.
- 4Preheat oven to 170C. Fry bacon and onion in olive oil in a wide casserole over medium-high heat until just golden brown, adding garlic in the last minute of cooking (10-12 minutes). Remove from pan and reserve. Fry sausages in casserole, turning occasionally, until browned all over (4-6 minutes). Remove and cut into large pieces. Add tomato and stock to casserole, bring to a simmer, then return onion mixture to casserole along with sausages, confit duck, beans and rosemary, and bring to a simmer. Transfer casserole uncovered to oven and cook until beans absorb the sauce and are very tender, and a crust forms on top (1-1½ hours).
- 5Meanwhile, for toasted crumbs, fry breadcrumbs in fat or oil in a frying pan over medium heat until golden and crisp (10-15 minutes). Add parsley and garlic, stir-fry until fragrant (1-1½ minutes), then scatter evenly over cassoulet along with flat-leaf parsley and serve with crusty bread and a simple green salad.
Drink Suggestion: Full-bodied red grenache blend. Drink suggestion by Max Allen