Cassoulet – a la mode anglaise!! French
Total time - 4 hours plus soaking but well worth the effort.
800g/28oz Dried white haricot beans, pre-soaked overnight and drained
2 tbsp Goose or duck fat
1kg/2.2lb Belly of pork (with rind)
225g/8oz Tomatoes, chopped
2 stalks of Celery cut into ½ inch pieces
200g/7oz Carrots, sliced
2 Onions, each studded with 6 whole cloves
1 Bouquet Garni
4 Garlic cloves, halved
Salt and ground black pepper
8 pieces Preserved duck or goose (Confit) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_confit )
675g/1½lb Toulouse sausages
500 gr/1.1 lb lamb cut into pieces (optional- but this improves the flavour)
1. Place the soaked beans in a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat the goose fat or lard in a large flameproof casserole, add the pork and lamb which has been cut into cubes and brown on all sides. Separate and set aside the pork rind.
3. Add the carrots, celery and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
4. Add the drained beans, bouquet garni, garlic, salt, pepper, onions and reserved pork rind which has been cut into strips ( I browned the rind first to remove some of the fat). Cover with cold water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and cook over a low heat for about 1-1/2 hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 170C, 325F, Gas Mark 3 and brown the sausages in a little fat.
6. Add the duck or goose confit and the browned sausages cut in ½ to the casserole, pushing them down into the beans, then transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for a further 2 hours, uncovered, (** see below) pushing the brown crust which will form, back down into the beans with a wooden spoon several times during the cooking period (traditionally six times). Serve hot, making sure each diner gets a piece of all the meats. A meal in itself. Needs perhaps only salad to accompany.
This dish can be prepared well in advance and reheated or frozen for future use.
** I found that I needed a kettle of boiling water ready to add extra liquid each time I stirred it in the oven, or it would have burnt dry. Possibly it would be better in a deeper dish than I used but I did not have one available.
N.B. When I first made this in the UK, I could not get the confit, so I used browned chicken legs. We enjoyed the meal, but obviously it did not taste quite the same as when duck is used.