Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cassoulet - Duck, Pork, Lamb, and Beans

This year for Christmas Eve we had a great Cassoulet dinner with family and close friends - about 16 of us. I made the cassoulet from scratch and it turned out really good. It involved butchering 2 ducks, rendering the fat, making the legs and thighs into confit. Used the body and wings for duck stock. I made the breasts into a boudin blanc sausage that was cut up and seared before going into the finished dish. I used the duck livers in a very nice Grand Marnier Duck Mousse that we served on New Years day. A bought, seasoned and cured a pork belly as pancetta for a few weeks and then cut that up and seared it also. I bought a boneless leg of lamb, cleaned it, cubed it and braised it in port. The lamb was used in the cassoulet and the liquid in the seasoned liquid the cassoulet is cooked in. Made a Great Northern bean soup with the duck stock, sausage, and pork belly. Use the meat in the cassoulet and the liquid along with the lamb liquid as the cassoulet liquid. I made a loaf of sourdough bread and Cuisinarted it into crumbs along with parsley, sage, thyme and duck fat as the topping. the above steps required several days (or weeks in the case of the pork) each to develop flavors properly. On the day of the event the meats where all shredded and mixed together. The Beans were cooked and then laid out to dry and develop flavor. The liquid is heated and highly seasoned with vinegar, salt, pepper. In a large Le Creuset I layered layers of beans, meat, beans and then completely added liquid to the rim. then the breadcrumb mixture was pressed over the whole thing and the cassoulet was heated for a couple of hours in a hot oven to meld the flavors.

The cassoluet is VERY RICH so was served in small portions with a simple salad and bread. We then enjoyed a great set of desserts made by Miranda ( a chocolate rulade) and Cindy (a cherry pie). All washed down with some nice French Red Wines.

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