Cassoulet de Toulouse
Recipe type: Curries
This is one of the great classics of French cooking, of which there are three regional variations. Over time, the differences between them have become blurred and their ingredients debated. Lamb or mutton, for instance, is often added to this version. The crust is also contentious, with traditionalists insisting that it should be broken into the stew seven times during cooking.
- 2 tablespoons duck fat (see note)
- 1.6kg piece boneless pork shoulder, cut into 12 pieces
- 5 carrots, 4 halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 5 onions, 4 chopped
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 200g piece pancetta, skin removed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bulb garlic, plus 3 extra cloves, finely chopped
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ham hock
- 400g can Italian chopped tomatoes
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 600g (3 cups) haricot beans or great northern beans (see note), soaked overnight
- 4 Toulouse-style pork and garlic sausages (see note) or other pork sausages
- 6 pieces duck confit (see note)
- 105g (1/2 cup) fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Step 1:
- Melt duck fat in a large, heavy-based casserole over medium heat. Brown pork, in 2 batches, turning, for 5 minutes, then remove from pan. Add chopped carrots and onions, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until softened. Add pancetta and stir to coat with vegetables, then add tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Return pork to the pan with garlic bulb, herbs, ham hock, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for 1 hour.
- Step 2:
- Meanwhile, drain beans and place with whole carrot and onion in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 5cm, then bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are almost tender but still a little firm. Drain, discard carrot and onion, then add beans to casserole. Cover and continue cooking for a further hour.
- Step 3:
- Remove ham hock, pancetta and garlic bulb from pan and cool slightly. Shred meat from ham hock and slice pancetta, then return both to pan. Squeeze garlic from bulb and stir into pan with extra chopped garlic. Season with sea salt and keep at a gentle simmer.
- Step 4:
- Place sausages in a frying pan and cook over medium heat, turning, for 15 minutes or until browned. Cool slightly, then cut into 1.5cm pieces.
- Step 5:
- In the same pan, warm the duck confit over medium heat, turning, for 2â€“3 minutes or just long enough to soften the meat. Remove duck meat in large chunks, discarding the skin and bones. Set duck meat aside.
- Step 6:
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Place half the bean mixture in a 6.8-litre casserole, top with duck meat, followed by the remaining bean mixture and then the sausages. Combine breadcrumbs with parsley and scatter over. Place on the lowest rack of the oven and cook for 1 hour or until breadcrumbs are dark golden.