Chef Laurence Jossel created this stripped-down version of the classic French stew, with creamy white beans, luscious store-bought duck confit, smoky French garlic sausage and slab bacon. Letting the beans rest overnight develops their flavors.
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5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Two 1/2-inch-thick slices of pancetta (4 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 pound dried flageolets or Great Northern beans, rinsed and picked over,
then soaked for 2 hours and drained
4 thyme sprigs
2 quarts water
1 quart chicken stock
1 large head of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
4 pieces of duck leg confit, trimmed of excess fat
3/4 pound French garlic sausage, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
4 ounces lean slab bacon, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until the fat has been rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the beans, thyme sprigs, water and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring and skimming occasionally, until the beans are al dente, about 1 hour.
Add the garlic cloves to the beans and simmer until the garlic and beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Season the beans with salt and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate the saucepan overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Rewarm the beans over moderate heat. Transfer the beans to a large, deep baking dish. Nestle the duck legs, garlic sausage and bacon into the beans. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cassoulet is bubbling and all of the meats are hot. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
In a skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and the parsley over the cassoulet and serve.
The cassoulet can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Rewarm before proceeding.
Jossel's cassoulet brings to mind the south of France, which produces robust, spicy red wines that are good partners for this dish. Some of the region's best values are labeled Vin de Pays d'Oc.
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