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Cabarrus Magazine

Breaking Bread: Cassoulet

Jun 01, 2018 08:30AM ● By Jason Huddle

Breaking Bread: Cassoulet




1 lb. dried white beans

10 Tbsp. duck fat or olive oil

16 cloves garlic, smashed

1 lb. pork shoulder cut into 1” cubes

2 large ham hocks

2 onions, chopped

4 sprigs Oregano

4 sprigs Thyme

3 bay leaves

1 cup canned whole, peeled tomatoes

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken broth

4 Confit duck legs (optional)

1 lb. pork sausage

2 cups bread crumbs

1/2 lb. Pancetta, cubed



Soak beans overnight in a 4-quart bowl of water. Heat 2 Tbsp. duck fat in a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add half the garlic, onions and carrots and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add ham hocks to 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-quart 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 to 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-inch 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-inch slices. Pull duck meat off bones. Discard fat and bones. Stir duck and sausages into pork stew. Heat oven to 300˚F. Mix beans and pork stew in a 4-quart earthenware casserole. Cover with breadcrumbs; drizzle with remaining duck fat. Bake, uncovered, for 3 hours. Raise oven temperature to 500˚F; cook cassoulet until crust is golden, about 5 minutes.

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Francois Bouali was born into two cultures that are drenched in French cuisine: Tunisia on his father’s side and France on his mother’s side. Now an authentic French chef, Bouali makes his own bread, pastry, classic French dishes, and even his own cheese – selections that will be offered at Chez Francois.

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