Cassoulet is one of my favourite French recipes to cook and I usually make it on the weekend so I can get other things done around the house while it slowly ticks away. Like most recipes, there are many iterations of this recipe but they usually all include pork and haricot beans. My version also has (turn away vegetarians) Toulouse sausages and confit duck marylands too. It is a very meat heavy recipe, but it was originally a peasant dish invented to use up all the leftover meats from the house. Everything melds together in the oven and the taste is rich and delicious. There’s nothing more you need to serve it with than some good quality sourdough bread. If this cold Melbourne weather keeps up, I might be having this on high rotation, again! I can’t wait for Spring to actually arrive. 

2 tbs (40g) duck fat
6 Toulouse sausages
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
500g dried haricot beans, soaked in water overnight
1kg pork belly, cut into 4cm pieces
1.5 litres chicken stock
2 bay leaves
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs continental parsley
4 confit duck marylands
sea salt & cracked black pepper
continental parsley, finely chopped & sourdough bread, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. 

Heat the duck fat in a large cast iron casserole over medium heat. Add sausages and brown all over, then transfer to a plate. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for a further 1 minute until fragrant. Drain the beans and discard the water. Add the beans to the casserole, along with the pork belly pieces and stock. Using kitchen twine, tie together the bay leaves, thyme and parsley to make a bouquet garni and add this to the casserole. Slice the reserved sausages in half and add to the casserole, along with the confit duck legs. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and remove any scum that may rise to the surface. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours uncovered until the beans are tender, the liquid has reduced and the top has browned nicely. Remove bouquet garni and discard. Serve cassoulet sprinkled with parsley and with sourdough bread on the side. Serves 6. 

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