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Monday, 11 February 2013

Quick Cassoulet and Roasted Duck

When I say "quick" I mean that this dish will take about an hour to prepare and cook, rather than the more traditional 5 hours (plus overnight bean-soaking). So not exactly a 15-minute meal. 

Traditional cassoulets put the 'slow' in slow-cooking and are full of flavour because of it; this one is not only quicker but it packs the same punch of flavour. It's also lower in fat because of the roast duck legs instead of the traditional confit. 

Ingredients to serve 2: 

2 duck legs
120g of smoked bacon lardons
3 fat sausages, cut into large chunks (I used a Toulouse sausage; flavoured with garlic, red wine, and smoked bacon)
1 x 410g can of Haricot beans
1 small white onion, finely diced
9 cloves of garlic (3 peeled and sliced, the rest left whole)
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 tbsp of tomato puree
30ml of red wine
1 bouquet garni
3 tbsps of chopped flat leaf parsley
30g of panko breadcrumbs (for crunch)
300ml of chicken stock
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Firstly preheat the oven to 170c/160c fan. Use a heavy knife to lightly crush 6 cloves of garlic in order to release the flavour (there's no need to peel) and place them in a non-stick roasting tin. Place the duck legs on top of the garlic cloves (so that the garlic acts as a trivet), skin side up, and then drizzle the duck with olive oil and sprinkle over a teaspoon of sea salt. Place in the oven to roast for 1 hour. 

While the duck is roasting you can cook the cassoulet. Fry the onion until soft, but not coloured, in a little olive oil over a medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, then add the bacon lardons and continue frying for a couple of minutes. Then add the 3 cloves of garlic and sausage and cook until the sausage starts to brown (3-4 minutes). Then turn up the heat and when the pan is really hot pour in the red wine, being careful of the sizzle, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn the heat back down to medium and add the haricot beans (there's no need to drain, you can add the water too), tomato puree, carrot, celery, chicken stock, bouquet garni, and seasoning. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, with the lid of the saucepan on, until the sausage is cooked and the cassoulet is thickened. 

After 1 hour remove the duck legs from the oven and discard the garlic cloves. When the cassoulet is done remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the flat leaf parsley. Serve the cassoulet with the panko breadcrumbs sprinkled over and the crispy, roasted duck leg on top. Finish with a final scattering of parsley. 

Based loosely on recipes from Nigel Slater and Raymond Blanc.

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