Sunday, May 1, 2011


Cassoulet makes a wonderful dinner and honestly the leftovers are even better. I made this one night last week and it was flavorful, hearty, and all of the different meats are delightful.

As an anniversary gift we were sent this lovely cookbook from Daniel Boulud, so I decided to give his recipe a try. It is reproduced in its entirety below for you to give it a shot. But I made a few modifications. First, Trader Joe's didn't have duck, so sadly I used chicken. But if you can get your hands on a nice one, I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Second, I forewent the topping, which I realize is nothing like me (breadcrumbs and butter ... what's not to love?!), but this meal does take a little while to put together and I am in the throws of finals studying. So the extra 25 minutes required really did make a difference to me. But again, the recipe is reproduced below if you have a little more time than I.

And you should definitely check out the cookbook Daniel's Dish, the photos are beautiful and there is a good mix of aspirational recipes (Saffron-Infused Mussel Veloute) and really approachable ones (Grilled Tuna). Enjoy!

Daniel's Casual Cassoulet
(from Daniel's Dish)
Makes 8 Servings

For the Cassoulet
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 lb Pekin duck, legs and breasts removed and split
1 1/2 lb lamb shoulder, cut into 8 pieces
8 sweet Italian link sausages
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb slab bacon, diced into 8 large cubes
2 large onions, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
4 large carrots, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large celery stalks, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled & sliced
Bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, and 3 springs of thyme)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/2 in cubes
2 1/2 lbs cannellini beans (about 6 cups), pre-soaked in cold water for 8 to 12 hrs
Sweet paprika and cayenne

For the topping and finishing
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
3 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tbsp melted unsalted butter

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400 F. Melt the butter with the oil in a shallow 12-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.

2. Season the duck, lamb, and sausage with salt and pepper. Add to the pot, along with the bacon, and brown the meats evenly on all sides.

3. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and bouquet garni, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.

4. Add the tomato paste and mix will. Add the tomatoes, beans, and 16 cups of water; slowly bring to a boil. Cover the pot and bake until the beans are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Do not overcook the beans or they will split).

5. After 45 minutes check the cassoulet and if needed, add more water. Remove from the oven. Season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.

6. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and garlic in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.

7. Sprinkle half the bread-crumb topping over the cassoulet and drizzle with half the melted butter. Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes and remove from the oven.

8. Using the back of a spoon, push the crust down into the liquid to moisten. Cover with the remaining bread-crumb topping and drizzle on the rest of the butter.

9. Preheat the broiler. Broil the cassoulet, watching it closely, until golden brown. About 5 to 7 minutes.

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