Here is a recipe ive been using:
To make shopping easier, you can use bacon instead of pork belly (whichever pork you use, I think frying it up a little helps). If you cant find duck, just add more sausage.
WARNING: this does take a few hours to make (but once you start it, there isnt much ‘work’ after that, just time). It cant be rushed!
Home-style farm cassoulet
The recipe seems long, and there are multiple steps, but keep in mind cassoulet is simply two layers of well-flavored beans with various meats in the middle that come together to make a festive dish. You can prepare this partially ahead, then refrigerate and finish before serving. You can also vary the meats, but be sure to include sausages. The pork belly rind and ham hock give extra body to the bean broth. Also note that you don’t have to soak or parboil the beans if they are high-quality and fresh. Serve this with a green salad and rustic bread.
- 1/2 pound lean pork belly, whole piece, skin on
- 2 parsley stems
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, bruised
- 1 pound sturdy dried heirloom beans (see sidebar), rinsed and drained
- 1/2 large onion, peeled but left whole and stuck with 2 cloves
- 1 carrot, peeled and halved
- 1 celery rib
- 2 cloves peeled garlic
- 1/2 smoked ham hock, about 1/2 pound
- 1to 1 1/2 pounds duck confit (leg and thighs attached)1 to 1 1/2 pounds mild fresh link sausage, such as Italian
- 1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes and their juice
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Instructions: Cut the skin away from the pork belly, leaving any fat attached to the meat. Halve the skin then roll one piece up and tie securely with cotton string; save the second piece for another use or discard.
Tightly tie the parsley stems, bay leaf and thyme sprigs with butcher’s string to make a bouquet garni. Put it in a large pot along with the peppercorns, beans, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ham hock, pork belly and tied roll of skin; add water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the beans are soft, but still have a bit of resistance when bitten, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally and, if needed, adding more water to fully submerge beans as they cook.
Drain the solids, reserving the broth. Remove the meat from the ham hock, finely chop and set aside; discard the bone. Finely chop the rolled pork skin and cut the pork belly into 1-inch chunks; set aside. Chop the onion, carrots and celery; and set aside. The recipe can be made ahead to this point. If refrigerated, rewarm beans and broth before continuing.
In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the duck legs until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and separate the leg and thigh; set aside. In the same pan, prick the sausages and cook, turning often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Do not cook all the way through, as they will finish cooking with the beans. Set aside.
To finish: Preheat the oven to 450°. Put the reserved bean broth in a sauce pan, add the tomatoes and simmer to blend the flavors. Taste, and add salt and pepper as desired.
Gently stir the ham hock meat, chopped onion, carrot, celery and pork skin into the beans. Spoon about one-third of the bean mixture in a large Dutch oven or other large, deep casserole dish, then layer, in turn, the cubed pork belly, the sausages and duck confit. Cover with the remaining bean mixture. Pour just enough of the reserved bean broth to cover, reserving the rest to baste as needed.
Place the dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes at 450°; lower the heat to 375° and continue to cook about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the top of the dish is crusty and golden and thick bubbles continue to appear around the edges. During baking, baste with the remaining broth if the beans appear to be drying out, and break the crusty top and push it into the juices 3 or 4 times.
Serve hot directly from the casserole.
Per serving: 445 calories, 27 g protein, 29 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (9 g saturated), 87 mg cholesterol, 309 mg sodium, 11 g fiber.