Cassoulet au Canard (Baked White Bean and Duck Casserole)

Cassoulet au Canard

Cassoulet au Canard

This duck-lover's version of the classic southern French casserole includes the bird in the form of rich sausages, bone-in legs and thighs, breast meat, and the traditional confit.Penny De Los Santos

This duck-lover's version of the classic southern French casserole includes the bird in rich sausages, bone-in legs and thighs, breast meat, and the traditional confit.

Cassoulet au Canard (Baked White Bean and Duck Casserole)
This duck-lover's version of the classic French casserole includes the bird in sausages, bone-in legs and thighs, breast meat, and the traditional confit.
Yield: serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried white beans, such as tarbais, Great Northern, or cannellini, soaked overnight and drained
  • 4 oz. slab bacon, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Cheesecloth, for herbs
  • 2 boneless skin-on duck breasts, skin scored in a crosshatch pattern
  • 12 lb. duck sausage
  • 2 duck legs, drumsticks and thighs separated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups duck or chicken stock
  • 2 legs duck confit, homemade or store-bought, skin and bones discarded and meat shredded
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in purée, crushed by hand
  • 3 tbsp. duck fat
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • Country bread, for serving

Instructions

  1. Boil beans, bacon, and 12 cups water in a 6-qt. saucepan. Place peppercorns, cloves, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves on a piece of cheesecloth; tie into a tight package and add to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered slightly, until beans are tender, about 1 12 hours. Discard spices and transfer beans and cooking liquid to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside.
  2. Season duck breasts with salt. Wipe pan dry and place breasts skin side down in pan; heat over medium-high heat. Cook, without flipping, until fat is rendered and skin is crisp, 5–6 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; set aside. Cook sausage, flipping once, until browned, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice 12" thick on an angle; set aside. Season drumsticks and thighs with salt and pepper; working in batches, cook, turning as needed, until fat is rendered and duck is browned, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Add garlic and onions to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Return sausage, drumsticks, and thighs to pan and add stock, confit, tomatoes, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until duck is tender, 1–1 12 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage, drumsticks, thighs, and confit to a bowl; reserve broth.
  3. Assemble the cassoulet: Heat oven to 375°. Rub an 8-qt. Dutch oven with 2 tbsp. duck fat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer 13 beans to the pot. Add half the sausage, drumsticks, thighs, and confit. Add another 13 beans, then the remaining sausage, drumsticks, thighs, and confit. Top with remaining beans and pour 1 cup reserved broth over the top. Slice duck breasts 14" thick on an angle and arrange over the top. Melt remaining duck fat in a 1-qt. saucepan; stir in bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over top of the dish and place in oven; bake until cassoulet is bubbling, about 40 minutes. Increase heat to 450°; cook until bread crumbs are browned, 3–5 minutes. Let cassoulet sit 10 minutes; serve with bread.