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How to Make a Cassoulet (french bean stew)

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
To Cook the beans
1kg white beans broad white beans
1 white onions
3 cloves
1 bouquet garni thym, bayleaf and parsley branch tight up together
1 carrots
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tomatoes cut in quarters
6 cloves garlic
1 liter chicken stock
200 grams pork belly Just the rind
200 grams ham cured ham
3 tablesppon red vinegar red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons duck fat
3 tablespoons salt coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon peppercorn black peppercorn
1 teaspoon juniper berries dried berries
For the meats
400 grams Pork ribs
6 pieces confit duck legs or tights
400 grams Pork Sausage pure pork
2 branches thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon duck fat

How to Make a Cassoulet (french bean stew)

People travel far and wide to try this dish

Features:
  • Meat
  • Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • To Cook the beans

  • For the meats

Directions

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Authentic Cassoulet recipe: the Cassoulet is a traditional french beans and meat stew from the south of France. Broad white beans are soaked overnight then slow cooked in a tomato based stock with pork rinds and cured ham. The beans are then layered with other meats and sausages, cooked in an earthenware pot (cassole) and finally topped with confit duck before being serve. Lets admit it, this recipe is rich. but It taste so delicious that people travel far and wide to try it out.if you have the time give it a go. After all, we live only once.

 

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Steps

1
Done

Start by doing all of your shopping the day before so you can soak the white beans overnight

Once you have all the ingredients, take the kilo of White beans, pour them in a large pan or mixing bowl and cover with water (a few inch over the beans). once done put them aside and let them soak overnight, ready to be used for the next day.

2
Done

On the day, start by cooking the Beans

Cooking the beans is pretty easy: take a large pot or pan and start by padding the bottom of the pan with the pork rind and cured ham (this prevents any of the beans to stick or burn at the bottom). next rinse your beans and pour them over. next add all of the chicken stock. After that just add all of the other ingredients listed in the recipe.
Start by adding the onion, carrot, tomatoes and then all of the aromatics,herbs and seasoning. finish by adding the duck fat and the vinegar. Finally top up everything with a bit of water in order to just cover the beans and other ingredients (as shown in the video)
Once all the ingredients are in put the pan with the bean on the stove on a medium heat and cook gently for 1 hour to 1hour 30minutes (depending on the bean you use so try them toward the end to make sure they are just cooked)

3
Done

While the bean are cooking pre cooked the ribs and sausage

Use a large enough roasting tray (or equivalent ) then place the pork ribs and sausage in the tray. Season with salt and pepper, add some duck fat, a branch of thyme, 1bay leaf, 3 garlic cloves, then place the tray in a pre-heated oven at 220 c / 428 F to cook the meats for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes take teh roasting tray out of the oven, remove all the meats and reserve them for later. Next deglaze the roasting tray but adding a bit of water in it. the meats juices will start to detach and from there you just have to keep scrubbing gently the bottom of the tray with a spatula to blend the meat juices with the water. When done, you will get what we call a "jus" (light gravy) in France.
Finally pour those lovely meat juices in the pan where the beans are cooking to give them some extra flavor ( this sequence is shown in the video at: 5.55mn in)

4
Done

Once the beans are cooked start cutting the meat

Once the beans are cooked take out all of the aromatics( carrot, onions, bouquet garni etc..) Then discard the ham and pork rind and reserve them in a tray.
Cut now all of the meat( rind, ham, sausages and ribs) in medium sized pieces and reserve then on a tray ready to be use to dress up the cassoulet.

5
Done

Dressing up the Cassoulet

A typical cassoulet is cooke in an earthenware cooking pot called a (cassole) and it is vital that you use something similar if you are making a cassoulet.
the cassoulet is dressed in 2 layers: first the meats then the beans ( without the juices). once you cooking pot is full only then, slowly start pouring over the bean cooking juices (as shown on the video)
note that you will know you added enough juice when just start to cover the beans.

6
Done

You are now ready to cook the Cassoulet

In a preheated oven at 200C / 398F place your earthenware pot containing the beans and meats on the middle tray in the oven. leave to cook for 1h our to 1h 30 minutes depending on the size of your dish.
while the cassoulet is cooking you need to keep an eye on it and follow those important steps:
30 minutes in or more , the juices in your dish will start to evaporate and the beans at the top will start to dry out and a crust will form. At this stage you need to take the cassoulet out of the oven, make a little whole in the crust and add a bit of cooking juice (from the beans or plain water) to keep your cassoulet moist inside .
when done then put the dish back the in oven and wait until another crust forms . typically in the tradition you should repeat the top up process 3 time at least to make sure you beans are cooked properly. That exercise can take anything from 1h to 1h30mn

7
Done

15 minutes before serving add the confit duck and further cook for 15 minutes and serve

When the cassoulet is cooked it can be either consume right away or re heated depending on when you intend to serve. regardless of when you want to serve once your cassoulet is hot and you are about to serve. Take the cassoulet out of the oven and place the confit duck pieces on top on the beans. from there you will need to put back the cassoulet in the oven for 15 minutes just time to warm up the duck confit ( nothing longer or else they will dry out) finally when the confit are nice and warm take out the pot of the oven an place directly on the table as is. serve on each plate a bit of each meat and good portion of bean.
Tip use a light red wine to serve a burgundy or cote du rhone will do nicely.

FCA

Host and author on The French Cooking Academy. Favorite cooking tag lines: " Russians have caviar, we have crepes"

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