Cassoulet de Toulouse

For this recipe Chef Anita Lo goes traditional in the style of Toulouse. Her cassoulet is packed with plenty of pork and fresh handmade sausage. This is a two-day event, so plan accordingly!
Anita Lo Cassoulet Recipe  | D'Artagnan

Ingredients

    THE STOCK

  • 2 fresh pork hocks
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • Water
  • SAUCISSES de TOULOUSE

  • 300 g lean Pork Shoulder
  • 100 g pork fat back
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Casings
  • MEATS

  • 100 g Ventrèche
  • 4 Duck Leg Confit
  • TARBAIS BEANS

  • 600 g French Coco Tarbais Beans, soaked overnight then drained
  • 1 onion, peeled, scored with an x halfway down to the root end from the growth end and stuck with a small clove
  • 1 peeled carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Duck bones from the confit legs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp rendered Duck Fat
  • 200 g tomato confit or 2 tbsp tomato paste, see notes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, see notes
  • NOTES

  • Tomato Confit: summer tomatoes, peeled and cooked down with garlic and a little onion and olive oil, salt and pepper then canned or frozen.
  • Breadcrumbs: mixed with 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme, 1 tablespoon softened duck fat, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Preparation

  1. Make the stock: place the ham hocks and the chicken stock plus another liter of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Skim and simmer for 3-3 1/2 hours, keeping the ham hocks submerged by adding more water as necessary. Skim occasionally. Strain, then remove the skin from the hocks and reserve. Remove the meat in bite-sized chunks and reserve. Discard the rest. There should be 2 liters of stock at the end.
  2. Make the sausages: Be sure everything is very cold. Cut the meat and fat into cubes and season with garlic, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Place in the freezer for 45 minutes. Soak the hog casings in lukewarm water. Grind the chilled meat and fat with a coarse die. Then add the wine and stir in one direction for a minute or two until the meat starts to look sticky. Refrigerate. Taste one small amount of the meat for seasonings by sautèing a small patty. Adjust seasonings as necessary. When cold again, stuff the sausages in the casings and tie off. It should be in one long link. Place in the fridge again, uncovered until the casings are dry, then refrigerate overnight, covered.
  3. Brown the duck legs in the bottom of a pressure cooker with a tablespoon of duck fat. Then brown the sausage on both sides. Remove the bones from the duck legs and reserve. Cut each duck leg in half. Pour off any excess grease from the pot, then add 1250 ml ( 1 1/3 quarts) of the ham hock stock, the remaining ingredients in the “beans” section, plus the ventrèche and the duck leg bones. Add a little water if necessary, to make sure the beans are well submerged. Cook for 20 minutes in a pressure cooker. Alternately, if using a Dutch oven, double the time and cook the beans until just tender but not falling apart. Once you can safely open the lid, remove the ventrèche and cut into large cubes, and reserve. Remove the duck bones, bay leaf, thyme, parsley sprig, celery, carrot, and onion and discard. You can cut up the onion and carrot and add to the beans if you like, but make sure the clove is removed. Pour off and reserve any excess stock. You should have just enough to come to the top of the cooked beans. Stir in the tomato confit and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325F/160C. Grease the cassole (or Dutch oven) with 1 tablespoon of duck fat, then line the bottom with the reserved pork skin, fat side down. Ladle 1/3 of the beans on top of the pork skin, then top with the duck confit in one layer. Add another third of the beans and top with the ventrèche and ham hock meat, then finish with the remaining beans. Bake uncovered for 2 hours, adding more stock, if necessary, to keep the beans from drying out. Cut the sausage into 4-6 pieces and semi submerge into the top of the beans. Top with the breadcrumb mixture and place back in the oven. Cook until browned and crisp, another 1 hour or so.

Optional: Make your own duck leg confit. Generously salt raw duck legs along with whole peppercorns, smashed cloves garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves, allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight. Brush off the excess salt, and then simmer duck legs gently in rendered duck fat for about 1 hour or until soft and pulling away from the bone.