Monday, January 9, 2012

sunday savory {cassoulet}

So I did make a sweet this Sunday, but it was creme brulee again at the request of a friend, so I figured I would share a savory dish if that's alright with you. We hadn't made cassoulet since the fall of 2010, it had been far too long. I was still having dreams about the delicious beans, yes that's right, beans, because even though this is full of pork and duck, the beans are my favorite part. You think I'm lying. I'm not. Make this and you will completely understand.

Now, our version is slightly different from the recipe {which we got out of Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook}. I'll include both ingredients. While I love duck, and I highly suggest using it, it can be quite expensive. With all the other meat in this dish, we opted to leave out the duck confit, we still cooked everything in duck fat though. Instead we used pork tenderloin.

I would suggest getting all the prep work and building out of the way the day before, let all the ingredients and flavors meld together over night. Then cook the next day, kind of a long wait, and a bit tedious, but I promise it's well worth the wait.

5 cups Tarbais beans or White beans {we used white}
2 lb fresh pork belly
1 onion, cut into 4 pieces
1 lb pork rind
1 bouquet garni {we skipped this}
salt and pepper
1/4 cup duck fat
6 pork sausages {we used andouille}
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 confit duck legs {we substituted pork loin here}

Day One:
In a pot add pork belly, quartered onion, 1/4 lb of the pork rind, and bouquet garni. Cover with water, add salt and pepper to taste and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about an hour. Let cool for 20 minutes, then discard the onion and bouquet garni. Remove the pork belly, cut it into 2 inch squares and set aside. Strain the beans and the rind and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid separately.

In a saute pan, heat all but 1 tbsp. of the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers and becomes transparent. Carefully add the sausages and brown on all sides. Remove, set aside, draining on paper towels. in the same pan, over medium-high heat, brown the sliced onions, the garlic, and the reserved squares of pork rind from the beans. Once browned remove from heat and transfer to the blender. Add 1 tbsp of the remaining duck fat and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the uncooked pork rind in the bottom of a deep ovenproof earthenware dish. Line the inside, almost like a pie crust. Start with a layer of beans, then sausages, then more beans, then pork belly, beans, duck {or sauteed pork loin, as was the case}, and then more beans, adding a bit of the onion mixture to each layer. Add the bean cooking liquid to the mixture, just enough to cover the beans, reserving 1 cup in the fridge for later use. Cook the cassoulet in the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 250 and cook for another hour. Remove from heat, cool, refrigerate overnight.

Day two:
Preheat the oven to 350. Cook for an hour. Break crust on the top with the spoon and add 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Reduce the heat to 250 and continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until hot all the way through. Serve.

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