Authentic French Cassoulet
Author: Janelle
  • 250g (1/2 lb.) smoked pancetta
  • 300g (2/3 lb.) pork sausages
  • 600g (1 lb. 5 oz.) dried haricot beans, soaked overnight in 3 times their volume of water
  • 300 g (2/3 lb.) pork shoulder, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 25g goose fat or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 8 pinches of sea salt
  • 2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove, lightly crushed
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
To finish
  • 2 confit ducks legs
  • 60g goose fat or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  1. The fun of making your own cassoulet starts the night before when you soak the dried beans overnight. Simply place the beans in a large bowl and cover with 3 times their volume of water.
  2. The next morning, drain the beans completely and discard the soaking water.
  3. Next, cut up your pancetta into lardons (small cubes). If you buy the smoked pancetta sliced, make sure you ask for it thickly sliced, so the cubes are nice and thick.
  4. Place the drained beans into a large pot, add the lardons, and cover with fresh cold water. Bring it to a boil and blanch for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Drain everything in the pot into a colander and discard the cooking water. Set aside while you prep some other ingredients.
  6. Chop up the pork shoulder into 1″ cubes. Set aside.
  7. Chop up the onion, celery, carrots and tomatoes. Peel the garlic cloves, leaving them whole. At this point, preheat the oven to 120C / 250F.
  8. Heat the goose fat or olive oil in a 26cm (5½ quart) flameproof casserole over medium heat. Add the pork shoulder and brown for about 8 minutes. Lower the heat to low and then add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic cloves.
  9. While that is cooking, in a separate frying pan, brown the sausage for about 6-8 minutes in a little olive oil.
  10. Cut the sausage into chunks. Set aside.
  11. Add the tomatoes and bouquet garni to the casserole and cook slowly for about 5 minutes until the meat and vegetables begin to caramelize.
  12. Add the sausage, beans, and lardons and pour in 1.2 liters (2 pints) water. Bring to a boil and skim off as much scum off the top as you can. Add the salt, pepper, clove and lemon juice. The water will be almost up to the top, but don’t worry, it will reduce as it cooks.
  13. Place the casserole in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 2 – 2½ hours, stirring every hour. After 2 hours, check to see if the beans are soft and creamy and if the broth has thickened. If not, you may need to cook it another 30 minutes – 1 hour to get it to this stage.
  14. Take the casserole out of the oven and add the duck legs. Place them underneath the beans and vegetables.
  15. Add the breadcrumbs on top and drizzle the goose fat or olive oil and garlic on top. Cook for an additional 2 hours.
  16. After this time, the crumbs will have browned.
Recipe by the chic brûlée at