Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The best thing I ever cooked - Cassoulet

The first time I cooked this, it was the best thing I ever cooked. It was cooked for a 'dinner party' which was the result of an in-joke relating to being 'charmed' by an Articulate clue administered through the medium of song. Of course, I later took the joke far too far and got egg on my face (as is my way) followed by an uncomfortable atmosphere in the house I was living in for a couple of weeks. Now I'm not really in contact with any of the dinner party guests except (interestingly) the one I fell out with for a little while. The second time I cooked cassoulet was about a week ago and it wasn't as good. But I'm still friends with all the people who came to eat it so I suppose 'it's all swings and roundabouts'.
4 Toulouse sausages, cut into chunks
200g streaky bacon, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 small onions, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 x400g can haricot beans
1 x400g can plum tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
250ml white wine
Tinned confit duck - I used one with 4 duck legs
About half of the duck fat that the confit duck was encased in
Parsley, finely chopped
3 slices bread, made into breadcrumbs

Fry the bacon in a large pan until the fat melts and it starts to crisp.
Add the sausages and brown all over.
Add the onions, carrot and garlic, thyme and bay.
Once the vegetables are soft, add the haricot beans and plum tomatoes.
Add the white wine and confit duck and the duck fat.
Season with salt and pepper and make sure everything is well mixed.
Mix the parsley and breadcrumbs and top the cassoulet with the parsley-breadcrumbs.
Place in an oven preheated to 150 Celsius for an hour and a half.

I served this with mashed potatoes (with a dollop of duck fat instead of butter) and kale (fried in duck fat, naturally.)
The cassoulet was supposed to feed 4 to 6 people. It fed 5 people for dinner that night with mash and kale. And then me for lunch the next day. And then my friend for dinner the next evening. And then me as a drunken snack later that night.

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