Originating in the south of France, cassoulet is a slow-cooked casserole of white beans and various meats named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole. This cassoulet recipe from the Galvin brothers is classic French cuisine at its best, packed with confit duck, lamb, pork and juicy Toulouse sausages.
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In separate bowls of cold water, soak the dried beans and ham hock for 12 hours, changing the bean water three times during this period. Drain them both and set aside
1kg dried white haricot beans
1 ham hock
In a large frying pan, heat 30g of the duck fat over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly until caramelised, about 10-15 minutes
30g of duck fat
4 large onions, chopped
Reduce the heat, add the garlic and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the mixture is close to a puréé consistency. Remove from the heat and set aside
12 garlic cloves, large, thinly sliced
In another large saucepan, place the drained haricot beans, pork rind, ham hock, carrots, onion quarters, bay leaves and thyme. Cover with water, about an inch above the beans. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 1 hour
400g of pork rind, rolled and tied
800g of carrots, cut into 5mm thick slices
1 large onion, cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquor, and place into a large bowl. Discard the herbs and onion quarters and remove the bone from the ham hock, reserving the meat
Chop the pork rind very finely – it should be close to a purée consistency – and stir into the beans along with the reserved onion and garlic mixture
Heat half of the remaining duck fat in large saucepan, over a high heat. Once hot, add the sausages and cook until browned all over. Remove the sausages and leave to drain on kitchen paper, then cut into 4cm thick slices
12.5g of duck fat
4 Toulouse sausages
Heat the remaining duck fat in the same pan. Add the lamb and cook until caramelized all over. Season well with salt and pepper, remove from the pan and drain
12.5g of duck fat
1kg lamb shoulder, on the bone, trimmed of sinew and cut into 10 pieces
sea salt, to season
white pepper, freshly ground
In a large earthenware cassoulet dish, spoon in 1/3 of the bean mixture. Add the lamb shoulder in an even layer, and cover with another 1/3 of the bean mixture. Add the slices of sausages, duck confit and back bacon rashers, then add the final 1/3 of the bean mix
4 confit duck leg, broken into large pieces
800g of back bacon, unsmoked, cut into rashers 1cm thick
Pour enough reserved bean cooking liquor over the top so that everything is just covered
Preheat the oven to 160℃/gas mark 3
Cook for 1 hour and then check the level of liquid. If it has almost evaporated, moisten with more cooking liquor, or boiling water
You will need to repeat this process several times until a crust has formed on top of the cassoulet. This will take 2 1/2–3 hours
The cassoulet is ready when the crust is deeply caramelised and a knife goes through the beans easily when inserted. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve
3 tbsp of parsley, chopped
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