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Chef's Corner with Chef John Caswell

 With Chef John Caswell

I first had this cassoulet dish in the winter of the early 90's. It was a wonderful dish that warmed me to the bone. The flavors of the duck and sausage were fantastic with the slowly roasted vegetables and beans. Since I first made this recipe I’ve starting making my own flavored sausage to go with this recipe. If you need a recipe for homemade sausage and you have the equipment to make your own, please feel free to reach out to me. I can give some of my personal sausage recipes that go well with this cassoulet. Enjoy this recipe and remember this is a great way to entertain your friends during these cooler winter months.

Enjoy and have a great new year!
Chef John

Duck Confit Cassoulets
(serves 6-8)

1 lb. dried great northern beans
10 tbsp. duck fat or olive oil
16 cloves garlic, smashed
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 large ham hocks
1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1"cubes
1⁄2 lb. pancetta, cubed
4 sprigs oregano
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
1 cup whole peeled canned tomatoes
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
4 confit duck legs (optional)
1 lb. pork sausages
2 cups bread crumbs


Soak beans in a 4-qt. bowl in 7 1⁄2 cups water overnight. Heat 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add half the garlic, onions, and carrots and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add ham hocks along with beans and their water and boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans until tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours.

Transfer ham hocks to a plate; let cool. Pull off meat; discard skin, bone, and gristle. Chop meat; add to beans. Set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown for 8 minutes. Add pancetta; cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic, onions, and carrots; cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with twine; add to pan with tomatoes; cook until liquid thickens, 8–10 minutes. Add wine; reduce by half. Add broth; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, until liquid has thickened, about 1 hour. Discard herbs; set dutch oven aside.

Meanwhile, sear duck legs in 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat for 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Brown sausages in the fat, about 8 minutes. Cut sausages into 1⁄2" slices. Pull duck meat off bones. Discard fat and bones. Stir duck and sausages into pork stew.

Heat oven to 300˚. Mix beans and pork stew.

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