Cassoulet, Confit, and Exploding Sausages

Back in February of 2010, Lis asked me if I was into hosting a Daring Cooks challenge.  Of course, I said yes.  Of course, I said yes, YES, for the love of all things rich, comforting and well, artery clogging.  OK, artery clogging if eaten with any kind of regularity, but so worth maybe one temporarily clogged artery.  One “Help me get up, I can’t move” moment.

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

Time flies by so fast! Lis informed me that the next empty challenge slot was for January 2011; 11 months away, and it seemed like it would be forever, but BOOM, it’s here.  Why is it time moves so slow when you want to grow up, then speeds up considerably when you already are grown up (well, externally grown up.)?

I’ll always be a child at heart.

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

Our January 2011 Challenge comes from another blogger, and Me/Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. (what this blog used to be called prior to 2013). We have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. I chose a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

Growing up aside, here’s the deal: We chose cassoulet for the challenge, along with a confit.  Most casssoulet does not call for duck confit, but since I also offered up a quick version and a vegetarian version ,we gave the cooks the choice of several vegetable confits and a chicken confit.  Wow, how could I forget the main challenge here? We chose both recipes, and yes, it’s time-consuming, a bit daring, and could be a little pricey with some hard to find ingredients.  Oh, don’t you just love us? We threw this at you guys two weeks before Christmas!! Be that as it may, spreading it out over 3 or 4 days actually makes it a somewhat simple dish to prepare.

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

When I think of cassoulet, there was always one I wanted to try; Anthony Bourdain’s.  I surfed around a bit, and found it on the Travel Channel site, from the No Reservations episode where he and Michael Ruhlman cooked up this amazing cassoulet for Michael’s family.  So, we gave you all a recipe that takes up about 4 days of your life, and again, don’t you just love us? But, I promise you, it’s so worth it! Then again, as mentioned above, we did offer other options, so I’ll stop repeating that.

Yes, I really will.

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

I made this cassoulet twice because my computer crashed, and I lost all the photos of the first cassoulet.  When I made the first cassoulet, I practically ate the whole pot myself, and paid dearly.  Walking became weight-lifting because I was almost full-term with a food baby.

You’re not supposed to eat almost a whole pot of cassoulet by yourself. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

The second time, I ate less, but it was even tastier because I made some great changes.  I know, I know, I made some changes to an Anthony Bourdain recipe that has been called the best cassoulet outside of France.  I think I broke a cooking law, but I refuse to succumb to the powers of the mighty Anthony Bourdain cassoulet that be. Well, sort of, since I still worship the ground that ‘anything’ Anthony Bourdain walks on!

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

The first time around, I got great caramelization on the onion-pork rind combo, resulting in a flavorful, rich paste.  Second time, I omitted the pork rind and just used extra duck fat.  Not as caramelized.. as you can see by the color in the layering photo collage below.

Like I mentioned above, the reason I made it a second time after almost overdosing on duck fat, pork rind and pork belly, was because my computer crashed and I lost most of my step-by-step photos.  I also saw it as an opportunity to make the changes I felt would make it just a leeeettle more suited to my taste.  Fortunately, some of my photos were recovered, so this entry is an amalgamation of photos from two Bourdain cassoulet preparations. However, I’m not going to label each photo ‘First cassoulet! Second cassoulet!’; I promise.

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

The first time I made the cassoulet, I used whole chicken legs in place of the duck in Bourdain’s confit recipe.  I tried to sear them right out of the duck fat after cooking and chilling, and the skin melted off completely.  I still have no idea why that happened since the duck legs, for my second cassoulet, seared up beautifully with a golden brown, crisp skin

Culinary mysteries are annoying. BUT at the same time, intriguing.

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

With that said, here’s the changes I made to the second cassoulet: There was some serious caramelization needed on the pork belly and duck. Yes, crisping the skin of both prior to layering them beneath all the beans and liquid seems silly since you lose the crispiness beneath all of the liquid, but it really isn’t because you’re adding more flavor (from the caramelization of the skin) to the cassoulet.  In fact, not only did I sear the pork belly, I confit’d it (Is there a past tense for confit?) before searing and even before that, I brined it before confit’ing‘ (again, is there a word for this?) it.  It’s Thomas Keller’s recipe for pork belly confit from Ad Hoc at Home, in case you’re interested.  However, that’s a whole other entry because it needs to be an entry on its own.

To digress a bit, pork belly confit is a lead, not a supporting role, so it’s more than worthy of headlining and getting all the attention.  Pork belly confit in cassoulet is DeNiro in a minor role in a big movie co-starring Pacino as the duck, and Daniel Day Lewis as the sausage. The meaty roles, as expected.  No, I won’t dub the beans because I try to keep it somewhat nice here..somewhat!

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

Another change I made to my second cassoulet would probably irk Mr. Bourdain and many serious cassoulet lovers; those who would most definitely question my palate.  I omitted the pork rind lining.

Whaaaa??, you ask?

Reason number ONE: Since I couldn’t find a piece of pork rind, or even two for that matter, that made it easy to line the pot both ways without trimming and fitting some pieces in, I ended up with small and large floating bits of boiled pork skin all over the cassoulet upon serving.  I could not escape them, and frankly, did not want to eat them.

Reason number TWO: There was absolutely no flavor to the pork rind, and to be honest, it was kind of gross; raw and cooked.  Unless I’m lacking some serious taste buds, or the pig my skin came from just so happened to be fed a diet of JELLO, I’m sticking with my assertion that boiled pork rind sucks.  I truly believe the only thing you can do to pork rind/skin to make it edible is, get out the banjo, swing yer pardner round ‘n round, then deep fry it with lots of salt.  Serve with whatever fresh roadkill is available that day.

Yes, it’s a stereotypical joke pertaining to the movie Deliverance, not all the beautiful. brilliant and cultured people who happen to live in that area. But, the deep-frying part is not a joke.  Again, pork rind needs to be deep-fried!

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.Not the most beautiful stew, but this is what cassoulet is all about.  It’s such a rich, chest-thumping, HE-MAN, soul stealing pot of meat and beans, that it needs to be attacked, errr served, with a big spoon, and just blobbed on a plate. Fork or spoon only necessary for the small bits. 

Finally, the sausages.  In the first cassoulet, I used plain pork sausage aka mild Italian sausage because that’s all I could kind find locally at the last minute.  The sausage was okay, albeit a little uninspiring. and it seemed so out of place among all the ‘to do’ in the cassoulet.  For the second cassoulet, sausages more suited to a cassoulet were available, so I picked up some duck sausage and garlic-sage sausage .  Everything seemed to be going great until about an hour into Day Two oven time.


My beautiful duck sausages were exploding; they were in desperate need to escape from their casings.  I have no idea what caused it, (expanding fat?).  Perhaps I should have pricked them prior to searing or layering in the cassoulet? The garlic-sage sausage was so delicate that it kind of fell apart, so it was utter, aesthetic sausage fail.  Being a food blogger, I needed a whole sausage for photos, so I decided to go with one of the explosives.  Careful plating hides the split down the side, but I don’t know why it looks burnt, because it wasn’t.  Looks like my artificial lighting destroyed the caramelization, rather than my usual eff-ups.

Despite everything, both sausages were delicious.

Having said all that, my only regret is not adding some kind of garlicky, toasted bread crumb topping that I could keep breaking open during cooking to mix into the cassoulet, like my friend, Robert did.  Oh, well, after two cassoulets in about a month, and a possible need for an EKG, I think I’ll refrain for a little while.

 How to make the best Cassoulet and Duck or Chicken Confit.

I’d like to thank Anthony Bourdain, for a fantastic recipe, and Lis and Audax for everything else.  Since I’m only posting the recipe for Anthony Bourdain’s cassoulet, please go check out the other recipes for cassoulet, one being vegetarian, and one being a quick 30-minute cassoulet, by Jacques Pepin. PLUS, for some awesome confits that aren’t duck; chicken confit using olive oil in lieu of duck fat or lard, leek confit, and garlic confit.

Cassoulet and Confit

by Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman, (as featured on the Travel Channel’s ‘No Reservations’)

Preparation Time:
For Duck (or Chicken) Confit: 2 Days.
First day, 15 minutes.
Second Day, 2 hours.
For Cassoulet: 3 Days
First Day: 10 minutes, if that
Second Day: Approximately 3 ½ hours, most of which is oven time
Third Day: 1 ½ hours, all oven time

Ingredients for Duck or Chicken Confit
4 whole duck or chicken legs (leg and thigh), size does not matter
sea salt, for the overnight (at least 6-8 hours) dry rub (the amount varies depending on the size of your legs, so just know that you need to have enough on hand for a good coating.)
*2 cups/480 ml/450 gm/16 oz duck or chicken fat (you can use olive oil too)
a healthy pinch or grind of black pepper
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove

Shallow dish
Plastic wrap
Ovenproof casserole

Day One
1.Rub the duck or chicken legs fairly generously with sea salt. Place in the shallow dish, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. At all times, keep your work area clean and your ingredients free of contamination – meaning don’t allow any other food, like bread crumbs or scraps, to get into your duck, duck fat or confit, as they will make an otherwise nearly non-perishable preparation suddenly perishable.

Day Two
1.Preheat the oven to moderately hot 375ºF/190ºC/gas mark 5.
2.Render (melt) the duck fat in the saucepan until clear. If using olive oil, no need to melt, obviously.
3.After seasoning with the black pepper, place the duck legs in the clean, ovenproof casserole.
4.Nestle the thyme, rosemary and garlic in with the duck legs, and pour the melted duck fat over the legs to just cover.
5. Cover the dish with foil and put in the oven. Cook for about an hour, or until the skin at the “ankle” of each leg pulls away from the “knuckle.” The meat should be tender.
6. Allow to cool and then store as is in the refrigerator, sealed under the fat. When you need the confit, you can either warm the whole dish, in which case removing the legs will be easy, or dig them out of the cold fat and scrape off the excess. I personally recommend the former. A nice touch at this point is to twist out the thighbone from the cold confit. Just place one hand on the drumstick, pinioning the leg to the table, and with the other hand, twist out the thighbone, plucking it from the flesh without mangling the thigh meat. Think of someone you hate when you do it.

*My notes –  If you’re going to store the duck confit for any significant amount of time prior to making the cassoulet, use 4 cups of fat so the legs are completely submerged and sealed.  Also, If you’re planning ahead, I would  recommend making the confit weeks or a month or so prior to the cassoulet since the longer they age, the better the flavor.

Ingredients for Cassoulet
5 cups/1200 ml/1100 g/39 oz dried Tarbais beans or Great Northern Beans or Cannelini Beans (if you use canned beans be aware that you will need double this amount!)
2 pounds/900 gm fresh pork belly
1 onion, cut into 4 pieces
1 pound/450 gm pork rind
1 bouquet garni (tie together two sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme and one bay leaf)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup/60 ml/55 gm duck fat
6 pork sausages
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 confit duck or chicken legs

Large bowl large pot
Strainer or colander
Sauté pan
Paper towels
Large, ovenproof earthenware dish
Measuring cup
Kitchen spoon

Day One
1.Place the beans in the large bowl and cover with cold water so that there are at least 2 or 3 inches (50mm or 75mm) of water above the top of the beans. Soak overnight. That was hard, right?  (Beans will double in size upon soaking, so use a big bowl!)

Day Two
1. Drain and rinse the beans and place in the large pot.
2. Add the pork belly, the quartered onion, 1/4 pound/115 gm of the pork rind, and the bouquet garni.
3. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes more.
4. Let cool for 20 minutes, then discard the onion and the bouquet garni.
5. Remove the pork belly, cut it into 2-inch/5-cm squares, and set aside. (If you plan to wait another day before finishing the dish, wait to cut the pork belly until then.)
6. Strain the beans and the rind and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid separately.
7. In the sauté pan, heat all but 1 tablespoon/15 ml/15 gm of the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers and becomes transparent.
8. Carefully add the sausages and brown on all sides.
9. Remove sausages and set aside, draining on paper towels.
10. In the same pan, over medium-high heat, brown the sliced onions, the garlic and the reserved squares of pork rind from the beans (not the unused pork rind; you’ll need that later).
11. Once browned, remove from the heat and transfer to the blender. Add 1 tablespoon//15 ml/15 gm of the remaining duck fat and purée until smooth. Set aside.
12. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4.
13.Place the uncooked pork rind in the bottom of a deep ovenproof non-reactive dish. You’re looking to line the inside, almost like a pie crust. Arrange all your ingredients in alternating layers, beginning with a layer of beans, then sausages, then more beans, then pork belly, beans, duck confit and finally more beans, adding a few dabs of the onion and pork rind purée between each layer.(Just pile, dab, stack and pile. It doesn’t have to be pretty.)
14. Add enough of the bean cooking liquid to just cover the beans, reserving 1 cup/240 ml in the refrigerator for later use.
15. Cook the cassoulet in the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to very slow 250ºF/130ºC/gas mark ½ and cook for another hour.
16. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Day Three
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4 again.
2. Cook the cassoulet for an hour.
3. Break the crust on the top with the spoon and add 1/4 cup/60 ml of the reserved cooking liquid. Reduce the heat to very slow 250ºF/130ºC/gas mark ½ and continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until screamingly hot through and through. Then serve.

By the way, I would like to thank Hickory Farms via the FoodBuzz Tastemaker’s Program, for sending me a whopper of a sausage, cheese, cracker, mustard, candy gift box last December.  I’m not kidding when I tell you everything in the gift box was GONE within two days!  Loved it all, especially the pineapple mustard, which I wouldn’t let anyone else near.  Please go check out Hickory Farms for some great baskets, gift boxes etc, for yourself or to send to anyone for any occasion.

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68 Responses to Cassoulet, Confit, and Exploding Sausages

  1. Lisa what can I say this recipe was EXCELLENT confit meats with beans what a dish so so tasty and even better the next few days it is so homely yet so sophisticated a superb “foodie” challenge. Sorry to hear about your computer crash (I have backup my files now just to be careful) great to hear you could recover some of the photos and files.

    Your two version are magnificent I agree with your changes I think the pork rind was necessary in the old days to protect the beans and confit from the cooking fire and etc. I used speck (a type of smoked and cured ham) to line my dish.

    Wondrous result and photos!!!

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. climbhighak says:

    Bourdain is a journeyman chef at best. Now his writing and TV show, I love. When I read about that pork rind lining I was like WTF. It just never made sense except as how Audax described.

    You and I both needed a couple attempts to make this dish our own. Your second take looks out of this world delicious. I love the browned up duck legs.

    Thank you again for such a great challenge. It was so much fun pulling this together.

  3. chef_d says:

    Thank you for this challenge Lisa! I wouldn’t miss this for the world, not only is Bourdain one of my favorite chefs, you are also one of my favorite food bloggers! Followed your suggestion about the pork rind lining…everyone at work loved the cassoulet!

  4. Jenn says:

    Thanks for hosting! Glad I got to try something new 🙂

  5. oh yours looks wonderful. great notes on the dish. i enjoyed this challenge (ended up doing a veg white bean). I really love your pictures and if only there was some serious contending veg meat products out there =)

  6. Rosa says:

    Wow, your cassoulet is magnificent! So scrumptious looking. That is a dish I want to try very soon…



  7. Zoe says:

    Thank you for the great challenge and your beautiful post. I love your writing. 🙂

  8. rita says:

    What a gorgous look.I imagine the taste…



  9. Shelley C says:

    Lisa, you should know that you are half of the reason I did this challenge – I couldn’t NOT participate in one you were hosting!! 🙂 You are awesome, were a fantastic hostess (with the mostess!!) and this challenge was great. Your photos of your cassoulets are so mouthwatering, by the way – that would be the other half of the reason I did the challenge 🙂

  10. Thank you for such a great challenge! Your photos are gorgeous and very helpful when trying to see if what you’re doing is correct 😀

  11. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Your cassoulet looks and sounds absolutely fantastic! I sure would love to eat this meal for my dinner tonight 🙂

  12. Monkeyshines says:

    Thanks for hosting a fantastic challenge! I can’t believe you ate 2 cassoulets is a month. That’s almost nirvana (except for the calories..)

    We love cassoulet – even served it at our wedding dinner. It was great to make again and perfect food for this chilly winter.

  13. Unctuous!

    Thanks for hosting! A fun and rewarding challenge indeed.

    We went all Anthony all the time, but if we did this again and couldn’t find one or two big slabs of rind we’d probably skip the lining the dish part. We didn’t mind fishing around for the good bits, but it we were sharing with friends we’d like to not have to worry about it.

    Stay JOLLY!

  14. Simona says:

    Thank you so much, Lisa, for the fun challenge. I went the vegetarian way and the recipe was excellent. In fact, I made it three times within a couple of weeks. Thanks again for hosting!

  15. Ruth H. says:

    Thank you so much for hosting, and for introducing me to something new. Even as a vegetarian, I totally appreciate the time and effort you put into making your own cassoulets, and how amazing those confit’d duck legs look all crispied up…. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  16. Megan says:

    You never cease to amaze! What a great challenge to host. Everything looks absolutely perfect and absolutely delicious!

  17. OMGOSH! Lisa! I am SO in. And, I am not afraid. I have always wanted to make cassole – how do you spell it? And, I have duck confit in my freezer – made already – good to go. I just made pork belly confit, so am not afraid of that anymore. YAY! Here comes another really delicious meal, me think. Thank you for being so brave. However, if I was a Daring Cook, I might find this a bit intense… hehehehe.
    LOVE the photos and will let you know when I get this done.

  18. Renata says:

    Lisa, I was so glad that I could finally make it… and post on the 14th! Ok, I still have to complete the post with the recipe, but I couldn’t hold my head up any longer at 8:30 pm! Well, now, it’s 4 in the morning and I’ve been wide awake since 1:30 am! This is crazy!!
    Rice and beans is an everyday dish in Brazil, and I would’ve love to use all the different meats we have there to add to the cassoulet, maybe next winter… by the way I LOVED the garlic confit! So easy to make and so delicious, it gets creamy and can be used as spread on crackers or toast.. yummmmm
    Thank you for the great, great challenge!

  19. Suz says:

    This was a fabulous challenge, Lisa. Thank you! The duck confit was a revelation – I’d never have thought of making my own – and the final cassoulet was delicious. I cooked it for a New Year’s Eve dinner & it went down a treat. I’m actually in the middle of cooking the vegetable version (a sudden craving struck), so my blog post isn’t up yet, but suffice to say I’m really happy with both recipes. And your dish looks so tasty. I’m actually starting to crave duck again just looking at the beautiful crispy skin. I wish I’d crisped up the pork belly too. Next time! Oh oh, but the smell as I cooked the sausages in the leftover, garlicky confit fat … heavenly! Thanks again!

  20. tiedwithblue says:

    That looks really yummy and filling! a perfect winter food! Sounds great too 🙂

  21. NuM NuM says:

    wow – love the step by step photography! I’m such a fan of your blog and so honored you came to visit mine. I’ve made your cheesecake brownies and they are my all time favorite brownie – thanks so much for the recipe. I linked it back to you in my blog if you wanna check it out. I hope you make the PB&J and enjoy them as much as we did

  22. Claudia says:

    This was an outstandingly yummy challenge. I’m with you on the flavorless rind, and just used bacon and sausages for my pork quota. We just had the last bits of left-overs in empanadas last night. Boy were those too good for words.

  23. As always, a fabulous post filled with your wonderful sense of humor. Love the boiled pork belly sucks comment. Great job co-hosting this month!

  24. Lisa says:

    What a beautiful and delicious looking dish. I’m totally impressed by your ability to make this.

  25. Oh how totally SCRUMPTIOUS. And LOVED your idea of De Niro, Pacino and Clooney being the meat stars of the dish. “You looking at me, sausage?” Genius. I think this was probably the most satisfying cookery experiment I have ever done and the result was absolutely DIVINE. Thanks for this great challenge. Or as Simone would say – merci!

  26. Lisa, I was so thrilled when I saw you were co hosting and even more thrilled when I saw it was cassoulet, something I would expect from you to throw at us by the way. I have had this dish a few times in my life and always wanted to make it but knew it was time consuming. Thank you for making me do it, it was phenomenal.

    And can,t believe the pc crash, I remember you mentioning it but with your cassoulet pics and note….eek

  27. Gillian says:

    Thank you for the challenge, duck confit is one of my all time favorite things but I had never made it before. I will certainly do it again it really was not that hard and I now have duck fat in my fridge, oh happy day. Also cassoulet is such a great winter comfort food, though I make a simpler version that only takes one day but I think tastes great. Thanks again.

  28. blepharisma says:

    You got that fabled perfect crusted top on yours! Nice! I laughed at the part about the exploding sausages, but couldn’t help but think that it could make things even better…

  29. Your duck confit leg looks awesome and exactly how I *wanted* mine to turn out. Ahem.

  30. Wifey-poo says:

    So here’s what I’m thinking.. lets be like Linda & Dave and serve cassoulet at OUR wedding too! 😀 Ohh think of the duck fat induced activities we’d enjoy on the honeymoon! 😉

    You and Jenni did a MAGNIFICENT job – this was a HUGE challenge for just about EVERYONE and I couldn’t have been happier with the results – both in the DC forums and ON MY PLATE! Cassoulet & confit are THE BOMB.

    Love you wifey poo!!

  31. Sarah says:

    Your post is so informative and, better yet, it made me laugh. This was an excellent challenge and your results were amazing (though I’m not sure I am ready to tackle the real deal versus the vegetarian one). Stay warm!

  32. Jenni says:

    You rock partner!! BOTH of your cassoulets look fantastic!!

  33. Sue says:

    This definitely looks like a “stick to the ribs” kind of stew! What an ambitious endeavor Lisa! I’m not surprised that you were one of the co-conspirators of this challenge…you are always up for a REAL challenge, with amazing results! Your posts are so enjoyable to read, Lisa, and this was no exception:)

  34. Lou says:

    Was a fantastic challenge – thanks Lisa. I think I will also try the garlicky breadcrumbs the next time. Will be a while before I do that, though – with the cassoulet and all the baking I have been doing recently, I’m struggling to fit into any of my clothes! Thanks. Lou.

  35. Lisa – Thank you, again, for such an amazing and challenging challenge! I made an adaptation of Keller’s Slow Cooker Cassoulet (in the oven) a while back, but I had never made duck confit and it’s been something I’ve wanted to try. I had a similar problem trying to sear my duck, losing part of the skin, and do wish it was crispier…next time, as with crispier pork belly. Couldn’t even think about pork rind – that just looked too Bourdain-ish 😉 Looking forward to cooking with you this year.

  36. Mary says:

    Thanks for a great challenge! I loved my cassoulet, and if I hadn’t been hit hard by the flu, I might have managed another. Glad you got some pictures back, and they all look amazing. Must go look for exploding sausage now….

  37. That looks seriously delicious. So so so delicious. I don’t know if I even have the energy for four days worth of prep, impatient being that I am. Always love what I find here.

  38. Christina says:

    This looks fabulous! So perfect for this time of year! I need to try this recipe soon! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  39. Anna says:

    Thank you for a fantastic challenge! Cassoulet was a perfect choice for this time of year. Your cassoulet looks perfect, thank you for all the comments and notes — they really helped!

  40. Oggi says:

    Thank you for the challenge. This is my first time to make and eat cassoulet and I fell in love with the first spoonful of beans.:)

  41. Barbra Soto says:

    You will also need to know how to make duck confit a skill that will serve you well should you ever want to prepare it as an appetizer or use the meat as ravioli filling very tasty . As it will survive happily refrigerator for weeks you can make it way in advance…..Ingredients for Duck Confit..Serves 4..4 duck legs..sea salt..2 cups 450 g duck fat see Suppliers pepper..4 sprigs of fresh thyme..1 sprig of fresh rosemary..1 garlic clove ……..

  42. Fabi says:

    Wow! You master the cassoulet, no questions about it! It looks so yummy I want to cry!
    A 3 days cassoulet was a too ambitious endeavour for me so I went for a 30 minutes one but feeling I was betraying your proposal. But I keep it in my ttbd list and hope I can do it soon. Thank you very much for your lovely comment, your words were so encouraginf for me. Thank you for a wonderful challenge.

  43. kelly says:

    Wow! How crazy is it that I just did this myself? AND I was making mine the first weekend in December. Talk about a coincidence 🙂 Loved your write up — makes me wonder how in heck I missed the Bourdain recipe when I swear I felt I read every recipe for Cassoulet on the planet before choosing the one I did. I’m with you on the artery clogging. SO RICH! And had to eat it in small portions, which has me wondering how you ate the first batch yourself???? Hilarious. I had so much of my meat mixture over, I froze the rest and just made some Tuscan bean soup with it. Not quite as fatty as my cassoulet, but the flavor was there. Dang. Had I waited a month to experiment, I would have had all the Daring Cooks to learn from. Oh well! Onward and upward. Nice job on this btw. I almost forgot — I made my duck confit two weeks ago separate from my cassoulet and haven’t posted it yet. Couldn’t take on both in the time I had, so you guys all ROCK!

  44. Valerie says:

    Lisa, you did such a great job as hostess! Thank you so much! It’s obvious that you put in a lot of work and thought into this. It was a great challenge, really delicious. Making confit is a skill I’m glad to have learned.
    Duck sausage sounds delicious. No idea why they exploded, though… Usually, pricking helps, but still, exploding is kind of extreme behaviour for a sausage…
    Glad you were able to recover some of your pics from the crash. As for me, I had to replace my computer, but kept all my data. Yay for new computers!

  45. Juliana says:

    Wow, Lisa…this dish is very impressive…love it! Nicely prepared and presented…absolutely beautiful 🙂

  46. Elle says:

    Fantastic cassoulets and lovely confit! Can’t imagine doing it twice, but I like the second one better. I’m not even fond of deep fat fried pork rinds. Awesome challenge…will have to go look at the confit in olive oil…makes it semi-healthy and not as dramatic for the ateries.

  47. Richard says:

    I’ve had the cassoulet at Les Halles and it’s pretty darn good. Was hoping to recreate it at home, so I;m glad I found you! Yours looks delicious, both versions!

  48. What an incredibly rich and indulgent meal. Oh, I do envy whoever gets to eat this good LOL, simply beautiful daaaaaaahling.
    *kisses* HH

  49. Lori says:

    An excellent looking pot o goodness. I didnt make this. I was bad. Seeing yours I really want to make it. I am in a serious cooking lul. ANd see I would have helped you eat that first pot.

  50. FOODESSA says:

    So, you were one of the in charge this month…and certainly daring you were! What incredible patience…and all worth it I’m sure. I’ve had this dish before and I was fortunate enough to have tried an excellent version of it.

    Lisa, you once again proved to be a force to be reckoned with ;o)…even when fighting against technology!

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  51. Katie says:

    I have been dying to make cassoulet for quite some time now. Thanks so much for posting the step by step photos along with Bourdain’s recipe. Definitely a huge help for me! BY the way, love your blog! Been a luurker for a while now.

  52. jinnie says:

    WOW~ Your job is awesome! I just started to learn how to make duck confit and felt that I learned a lot from your post. Thank you for sharing!:-)

  53. This dish really rocks! I have seen cassoulets done by other Daring Cooks, but really should say the one done by the host is just more authentic and the photos are screaming “superlicious”!!

  54. Leslie says:

    Wait, did you say this was “quite a simple dish to prepare?” I’ll have to take your word for it. Your duck confit looks amazing…I’m not crazy about duck but I would total have some of that beauty!

  55. pragmaticattic says:

    Congrats on hosting another challenge! Very nice job indeed.

  56. Dan says:

    Although not huge fan of fat lol it looks great. Ate it in France a few years ago but yours looks even better. Great job and great photos you are very talented.

  57. Spalatorie says:

    This dish is so mouth-watering. I think I’m the most greedy person on Earth. Everything appeals to me. Thanks for this recipe.

  58. Oh my, this looks absolutely divine Lisa! I should not have looked at your site so close to dinner time! 😛

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  61. stevenhb13 says:

    About how many would the cassoulet serve as the main at a dinner party?

    • Lisa says:

      Hi, Steven. Well, since the recipe is for 4 duck legs (confit), I would normally say 4 servings, but it makes a huge pot of beans and sausage (cassoulet), that if some are okay with not getting a duck leg, I would say 6 to 8 🙂 If you cut up the 6 sausages in the cassoulet, I’d even go so far as 8 to 10, or maybe even 12!

      • Nateolo says:

        So how/when did you add the bacon confit? Did you sear it first or add it with the onions and water? Thanks for the insight!

      • Lisa says:

        Hi, Nateolo. I did not add any bacon confit to the cassoulet. Did you mean the duck confit?

      • Nateolo says:

        Sorry I meant the pork belly confit from Thomas Keller you mentioned.

      • Lisa says:

        Nateolo, Thanks for clarifying that! I added the pork belly confit (seared in a hot hot pan after being confit’d) to the mixture with the onions, bouquet garni, garlic etc. 🙂

  62. Nateolo says:

    Thanks for the help! Have wanted to make this dish for a long time. Really glad to have your recipe breakdown to walk me through it. I think I cooked the pork belly confit a bit too long, came out a little stringy, almost like corned beef, next time might not cooked it in the oven or done half the time. Also kicked myself cause I forgot the sausages. Doh! Luckily had some moose meat sausage in the freezer. Also ended up soaking the beans for two days instead of one. Lead to being a lot of water in the dish. Didn’t need the extra cup at the end of the recipe. Thanks for the help!

    • Lisa says:

      I’m so glad you tried it, Nateolo, although I’m sad you ran into a few snafus! Hopefully you’ll make it again via cooking the pork belly for less time, and only soaking the beans overnight, as the recipe states! 🙂 BTW, moose meat sausage sounds cool! A must try!

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