My French cassoulet recipe will appeal to all barbecue enthusiasts because it's a hearty variation on beans, it is classic dutch oven cooking using a load of smoked ingredients that you can smoke in advance.
It's a crisp cold Winters day and this is the perfect way to warm up. A meal in itself, all you need is a log fire and a glass of red wine for a delightful evening. When I make cassoulet, I always make a large batch because it freezes really well, in fact I'd go so far as to say that it's usually better for freezing and re-heating. Even when I make a fresh batch I always cook it day one and eat it day 2.
Cassoulet is a classic French peasant dish that originates from the Langedoc region in the South.
I suppose I should hate it because the story goes that cassoulet originated in the town of Castelnaudary during the Hundred Years War when it was under siege by the British. The beleaguered townspeople secured any ingredients they could find and made a large stew to nourish and bolster their defending army. The meal was so hearty and fortifying that the soldiers beat off the British!
As an Englishman I find this legend hard to take as historical but when the results taste as good as this recipe than I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Before we go to the French cassoulet recipe ingredients I just want to list those that you can make in advance in your smoker:-
While you're smoking all these bits and pieces, put the haricot beans onto soak.
Serves:- 8 people
Preparation Time:- 30 minutes
Soaking Time:- overnight
Cooking Time:- 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time:- 3 hours 15 minutes
You can buy some of these ingredients ready for the pot rather than smoking yourself so the actual allergens in your cassoulet may differ from mine. In fact I've used my own home made gluten free sausages so there are actually no allergens in my recipe at all.
Place the haricot beans in water and bring to the boil, the strain and rinse. This takes away the foam that forms when the beans are cooked (it's not harmful, I just prefer to wash it away).
Get your large dutch oven and fry the cubes of pork together with the garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Now add the haricot beans, herbs, tomato purée and chopped tomatoes, cover the mix with water and simmer gently for 2 hours.
The beans should now be soft and it's now time to add the sausage and confit of duck. Just lay it on top of the mix and transfer the pot to a the oven (320°F or 160°C for a final 30 minutes to ensure everything has heated through.
This final cooking is essential because it's at this point that the fat in the confit melts out into the sauce making for a thicker consistency.
It's a rustic dish so serve it simply in a bowl, break open a baguette and tuck into this steaming plate of deliciousness.