Home cassoulet – first attempt

Cassoulet looks like it has a lot of potential as a healthy recipe.  A small amount of meat can add a strong flavor while the beans give a lot of high quality fiber and protein.  The beans should be fairly cheap.

Some recipes seem to try and be “too authentic” given that basically it should be a straight forward rustic dish.  Not everyone can get hold of duck confit, nor particularly wants to.  This Australian recipe seems to have a good balance of reasonable authenticity and practicality.  This video is worth a look as well.


  • 1 cup (215g) dried cannelini beans
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 500g pork belly, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 200g speck, cut into batons
  • 2 (about 150g) garlic sausages
  • 2 duck marylands or breast fillets
  • 2 brown onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups (1L) chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups (105g) fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
  • 30g butter, melted


  1. Place beans in a medium bowl and cover with plenty of cold water. Set aside overnight to soak.
  2. Step 2
    Preheat oven to 140°C. Heat oil in a large casserole pan over high heat. Add one-third of the pork and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat in 2 more batches.
  3. Step 3
    Add speck to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until brown. Transfer to bowl. Add sausages and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until brown all over. Slice thickly diagonally.
  4. Step 4
    Add duck and cook for 4-5 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to the bowl. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add pork, speck, sausage and duck, thyme and rosemary. Drain beans. Add beans, tomato and stock. Remove from heat.
  5. Step 5
    Bake in preheated oven, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Remove the duck marylands. Use forks to coarsely flake and return to the cassoulet. Combine breadcrumbs and butter in a bowl. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over cassoulet. Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes or until top is crisp and golden. Remove from oven and serve.

Tips for next time

Process wise this was a bit of a disaster – but I also wonder about the recipe.  Fortunately we recovered well and the taste was really good.

Probably I used too few beans  – i.e. 200g or so soaked over night for well over8-10 hours.

The browning went very well as I had checked out the advice on this Youtube video first – in particular use an oil that can heat to a high temperature and a heavy based pan, dry off the meat and chicken and add some salt.  Don’t worry about sticking – if you are doing it right it should come unstuck.

The onions also cooked well but looked rather disgusting given their cooking in the browned oil. This, though, was critical to the success of the dish.

The problem was that the liquid part was too great and even after around an hour of boiling was still there.  However after stronger boiling on top it reduced OK, was transferred to a flat dish and then put on some breadcrumbs.


Enough for six no problem

  • Pretty cost effective:
  • JPY1,000 or so for the pork belly
  • JPY450 or so for sausages
  • JPY450 or so for four chicken legs
  • Same as pork belly for the speck
  • Can of cut up tomates
  • Pack of beans
  • Splash of red wine


  • Boiled long beans
  • Potatoes, steamed and roasted
  • Carrots steamed
  • Salad – avocado, tomato, mozarella

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