When I was still a child, my dad would always buy us some canned food that reminded him of the days – okay, years – he spent in France, and that we loved. While my mom was a big fan of choucroute and my sister preferred raviolis, I always opted for the cassoulet: white beans cooked in tomato sauce with meat. But the original Cassoulet is a slow cooked French casserole, originating in the south of France, with various types of meats from pork to lamb and some duck or goose.
Last year, when I visited France, cassoulet was on my must-try list. I had it in the Christmas market, and it was among the best dishes I tried in Paris: quite different from the canned ones, of course!
I was looking for some wild ducks recipes last year – Tis’ the season, as stated in my previous blog post: how to cook a wild duck – when I came across this wild duck cassoulet recipe on grown gathered blog. I instantly knew I wanted to try it.
Since no one got very excited about it, I asked to have one small duck for myself, and I soaked some white beans on Saturday morning to be ready to start the cooking on Sunday morning.
The first surprise was that the dish needed more than 6 hours to be ready – okay, we’ll have it for dinner.
The second surprise was that it needed an ovenproof pot, which I don’t have, so I just used the deepest and biggest cake pan that I have.
The result was really amazing, and believe it or not, I can’t wait to try a pork version. Yumm
Wild Duck Cassoulet Recipe
- 2-4 small wild ducks
- 2 cups white beans (uncooked, pre-soaked for 24 hours and drained)
- 1 tbsp duck fat
- 1 tbsp butter
- 300 g Chorizo meat chopped (without casings)
- 3 shallots
- 2 carrots chopped into small pieces
- 1 garlic head, peeled
- 2 – 2.5 liters Chicken stock
- 1 stick celery
- 1 bouquet garni
- 2 bay leaves
- Tomato sauce
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
1. In an ovenproof deep dish, melt the duck fat. Fry the ducks, 4 minutes each side, without moving it around, to crisp up the skin.
2. Take the duck out and set it aside in a bowl. Add the chorizo to pan, fry for 5 minutes and then take out and set aside with the duck.
3. Soften shallots slowly on low heat in the same dish. Don’t let them brown. Add beans, celery, bouquet garni, carrots and whole garlic head to the pot. Fry for a few minutes, then cover with stock (beans should just be covered).
4. Bring pot to the boil and then let simmer covered for about an hour or an hour and a half.
5. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
6. Remove the celery and bouquet and add meats back into the dish along with the 2 bay leaves. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Place in the oven at 150 degrees for 4 hours. Check every hour to ensure beans aren’t drying out too much. If they are, you can add a little more stock.
7. After 4 hours, mix in the tomato sauce and place pot back into the oven for another hour without stirring. It should form a thick crust on the top when it is ready, In case it doesn’t, place back in the oven for a bit longer.
8. Serve hot and enjoy!
Would you ever try a recipe that needs 6 hours to be ready?