Happy National Cassoulet Week! It’s actually just one official day, January 9, but have you experienced the weather this week? We’re frozen down to the bones, so this glorious dish from southern France couldn’t come at a better time. All this week, restaurants around New York City — from Asian-influenced to fully French, Má Pêche and Danji to Benoit (which is Cassoulet Day’s host restaurant) and Le Fond — are serving steaming dishes of this ultimate meaty comfort food. We’re huge fans of Greenwich Village Provençal-style haven Claudette, whose James Beard Award-winning chef, Koren Grieveson, makes a mean French pork, bacon and bean stew.
This classic recipe features succulent duck confit, sausage meatballs and pork shoulder slow-cooked with herbs and aromatics for an exceptionally hearty dish that’s both crowd and arctic chill-friendly. Grab some crusty bread and prepare to forget your troubles.
- 3 slices bacon
- 1/2 slab guanciale
- 1 large carrot
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 cups white wine
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig sage
- extra virgin olive oil
- 5 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes (ask your butcher)
- 3 legs duck confit (ask your butcher)
- 5 links garlic sausage (ask your butcher)
- 1 quart cooked flageolet beans
- 5 quarts chicken or lamb stock
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- Thinly slice the bacon and guanciale into small strips.
- Medium dice the carrot, celery and onion and thinly slice the garlic.
- Clean the thyme, rosemary and sage and chop them together finely.
- Start by sautéing off the pork shoulder in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. It may have to be done in batches. Cook it in a large enough dutch oven because the whole dish will be cooked in the same pot.
- After the pork is browned, remove from pot and set aside. Pour off the oil if it is burnt. If not, keep the oil in.
- Add the mirepoix and cook until it starts to brown, then add the garlic and wine and let it reduce by half.
- Add the cooked pork back into the pot and add the stock, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Skim off any impurities that will rise to the top, check the seasoning and boil for a few hours. This will take some TLC and sporadic stirs.
- In the meantime, make small meatballs with the sausage. Pan sear the outside until brown but not cooked all the way through and set aside.
- Once the duck legs are room temperature, remove the skin and pull the meat off the bone. Set aside.
- After about an hour of cooking time and skimming the fat off the stew, add the herbs, check the seasoning and continue to cook until the pork is tender.
- Before serving, add the meatballs, duck leg meat and (cooked) flageolet beans.
- Serve in bowls and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
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