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Cassoulet with Duck Confit & Sausage

While shopping the other day my favorite market had duck on sale and not wanting to pass up a good deal I snapped one up. I let the frozen bird thaw in my refrigerator while I came up with some ideas to use the entire foul. This recipe takes a day or two but well worth the time. I wanted to use the breasts for one meal, the rendered fat for confit and the stock to use with the cassoulet.

Once thawed I carefully removed the breast meat, separated the leg/thigh pieces and split the carcass so that it would fit into one of my soup pots. (You can see a video on butchering the duck with the Rouxbe link that follows this post.)

You need to render as much of the fat from the bird as possible. When I removed the leg/thigh portions I removed all extra fat, cut it into small pieces, added all the fat that I had removed from the breasts and carcass and put into a shallow pan along with a small amount of water, just enough to cover. I put a bacon press on top of the mixture to weigh it down and cooked over a low heat until the fat was rendered and the water evaporated. Let the fat cool then place in a container and refrigerate. Take the skin that is left and place on a sheet pan and bake until crisp for a cracklin garnish.

For the Duck Confit

Place the leg/thigh portions into an oven proof dish skin side up, add all of the duck fat you made earlier there should be enough to cover the portions, if a little skin is above the fat it’s OK. Place in a pre-heated (225 F) oven and slow roast for approximately 2 or 3 hours. The confit is done when the duck meat pulls away from the bones easily. In the meantime place the carcass and neck into stock pot and make a quick duck stock. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can remove the meat portions from the fat. Strain the fat through a coffee filter lined strainer and return to the refrigerator for further use. Shred the duck from the bones and reserve until ready to use for the cassoulet.

For the cassoulet you will need:

White beans – one pound – pre-soaked.
Bacon – fat back or thick sliced – I used Danish style – approx 4 or 5 slices
Smoked Sausage – I used Polish, German Brautwurst or whatever sausage you desire – cut into bite sized pieces Carrot – cut into 1/2 inch pieces – approx 1 or 2 cups.
Onion – cut into 1/2 inch pieces – approx 1 or 2 cups.
Celery – cut into 1/2 inch pieces – approx. 1 or two cups.
Tomato Paste – approx 2 TBSP
Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves.
Fresh thyme – 4 or 5 sprigs
Oregano – 4 or 5 sprigs

In a stock pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients add bacon and a little duck fat and heat until rendered, add the tomato paste and cook until well mixed, add the vegetables and sausage, sauté until lightly colored. Add the pre-soaked beans, stir to combine and add the dock stock (you can also add some white wine for additional flavor). Cover and cook over low heat until the beans are tender, add the fresh herbs and duck meat and warm through. Keep warm until ready to serve. If you have left overs place in a container and freeze for another meal.

Reserve the Duck Breasts for another meal. I’ll put up a Duck with Cherry Sauce soon.


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