Birthday Feast: Cheats Duck Cassoulet

12 Sep

Last week was the 1st Birthday of the Legal Tart! How time has flown!

I first started this blog a year ago to give me an outlet from my legal work. Don’t get me wrong I do for the most part enjoy what I do, but there are times where I need to do something completely different, and while I still play with the idea of moving to Positano and selling tomatoes for a living, cooking and blogging seems a little less extreme :)

They say mindfulness is the key to happiness. Some people achieve this through yoga and meditation, others through going for a run, but my mindfulness comes through cooking and as a side bonus I get to eat the fruits of my labour and feed others.

I can’t pretend that blogging has been a completely joyful experience. There are times, largely when I am having technical issues like today, that blogging can feel like another thing on my to-do list. But when I see comments from all you lovely readers I am always glad I took the time to put down some thoughts and share a recipe.

Almost a one pot wonder!

This meal is a celebration meal. I keep promising myself that I am going to make a proper cassoulet, but time so far as worked against me. When I saw this short-cutted version I couldn’t believe my luck and marked it immediately for later cooking. You will be rewarded for your efforts with meltingly tender pieces of duck that simply fall from the bone and a rich sauce.

Cheats Cassoulet

Adapted slightly from Gourmet Traveller

Serves 6-8

  • 2 tbsp of duck fat
  • 1 duck (ask your butcher to carve it up for you or in the alternative buy breast and leg pieces)
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 300 gms of speck chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • 400 gm can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400 gems of dried cannellini beans soaked overnight
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp of all spice
  • 2 litres of water
  • Fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

1. Soak beans in water overnight in a large bowl, the water height should be about 5 cm above the beans

2. Heat duck fat in a very large casserole pot and out on high heat

3. Season duck with salt and pepper on the skin side and then place skin side down into the hot duck oil.

4. Once the duck fat as rendered slightly and the skin looks golden flip the duck piece over and cook on the other side You may need to do this in batches.

5. Place cooked duck on a plate and set aside

6. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion garlic and speck and fry off until the onion has softened.

7. Return the duck to the casserole pot with the tomatoes, drained beans, sage leaves, bay leaves, allspice and 2 litres of water.

8. Place in the oven and allow to cook for 3- 3 ½ hours or until the beans are tender.

9. Once the beans are tender remove the duck pieces into a large shallow baking dish and then top with the bean and sauce mixture.

10. Scatter a coating of breadcrumbs on the top and drizzle with olive oil before returning to the oven. Turn the heat up to 200 degrees, allow the breadcrumbs to brown

11. Serve straight from the casserole dish with a green salad and some baguette.

10 Responses to “Birthday Feast: Cheats Duck Cassoulet”

  1. frugalfeeding 13/09/2012 at 1:21 am #

    Happy first birthday – everyone needs an outlet! Life can get stale without an outlet and yours in both noble and wonderful :D

    • Meg@thelegaltart 15/09/2012 at 9:03 am #

      When i making muffins today i am going to tell myself, stir nobly!

  2. Vanesther 13/09/2012 at 7:36 am #

    Yes, yes, yes! I love the look of this dish – definitely bookmarking this one to try out. And happy first anniversary!

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 13/09/2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Happy 1st birthday Meg!!! What a great achievement and hehe I hear you re frustration with technical difficulties hehe :P

    • Meg@thelegaltart 15/09/2012 at 9:01 am #

      I know I have been known to start cursing my computer and asking it if it is happy with itself, completely mad!

  4. Mel 14/09/2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Happy blog birthday to you, Meg! :-) I like your method of mindfulness… and I always enjoy reading your posts when I check in!

    That cassoulet looks and sounds yum yum.

  5. ChgoJohn 26/09/2012 at 7:39 am #

    Sorry for being so late to the party and please accept my belated wishes for a happy first birthday! This cassoulet looks incredible and such a fitting dish for a celebration!

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