Duck & Fennel Cassoulet

Duck & Fennel Cassoulet

This Duck & Fennel Cassoulet is an ideal comfort food for chilly winter days.

Duck & Fennel CassouletWhile so many of my friends and other bloggers seem to be behaving themselves and starting the New Year off with Whole 30 or the Keto Diet, I’m finding myself in full comfort food mode, and one of my favorite comfort foods is Cassoulet.

Cassoulet is a traditional french slow-cooked casserole, generally containing white beans and a mixture of rich meats like duck and pork. Cassoulet gets its name from its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, ceramic pot. However, I just use my enameled cast iron dutch oven.

I’m going to be honest with you now. Cassoulet takes some planning. Not only do the beans need to soak overnight, but the ingredients can be a bit difficult to locate too. I recently found this amazing website, D’Artagnan Foods, where you can basically buy every amazing French ingredient that your heart could desire – Quail Eggs, Fresh Truffles, Pate – You can also find the ingredients for this Duck & Fennel Cassoulet there – I ordered the traditional variety of beans for cassoulet, Tarbais, Duck Confit, Ventreche (French pancetta), and Garlic Sausage and they arrived to my door in just a couple days – Right in time for a Friday date-night at home…

I think this Duck & Fennel Cassoulet is perfect for date night. First, because cassoulet is special. This is not a dish that you’re going to make every day (but you’re going to want to eat it every day). Second, it’s a fun dish to cook as a couple because there’s a lot going on the beginning – Slicing the veggies, browning the meats, stirring the pots. But then, once that’s all done, it slow simmers in the oven for a few hours, meaning that you can just open up some good wine and veg in front of the TV with a good moving, soaking in all those yummy cassoulet aromas until the timer goes off.

To pair with Duck & Fennel Cassoulet date night, I chose a few red wines from the Languedoc region of France, near where the traditional dish of cassoulet originated. I figured that we could have fun and do a blind tasting, experimenting and picking a favorite bottle from the mix. Because these wines are so affordable, around $12 a bottle, all three bottles still come in cheaper than a bottle of our usual Oregon Pinot Noir, plus it’s fun to experiment and pair regional dishes with the wines that come from that area as well. We opened up a Sentinelle de Massiac AOC MinervoisChateau de la Liquière Vielles Vignes AOC Faugères, and a Chateau Jouclary Cuvée Tradition AOC Cabardès.

I found myself reaching over and over for the Chateau Jouclary, bold but not overpowering, and just the right balance to stand up to the rich Cassoulet. Rick on the other hand preferred the Chateau de la Liquière – It was a bit more hearty and masculine, with a nice minerality to it.

Would you like to have a cassoulet date night in of your own? Languedoc Wines and D’Artagnan are teaming up for #CassouletDay 2018 (January 9th) to give away a full cassoulet kit (which even includes that cool cooking pot, the cassole). Be sure to enter! Plus, all entrants will receive a discount code to use on cassoulet products at checkout through the end of January 2018.

Cheers!

Duck & Fennel Cassoulet

Duck & Fennel Cassoulet

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
Calories: 440 kcal
Author: Erin

This Duck & Fennel Cassoulet is an ideal comfort food for chilly winter days.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound D’Artagnan Haricot Tarbais rinsed and picked over
  • Water as needed
  • 10 tbsp. olive oil divided
  • 10 cloves garlic smashed (divided)
  • 2 onions peeled and cut in half (divided)
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped (divided)
  • 12 ounces D’Artagnan Ventrèche thin plastic casing removed, cut in half
  • 1 medium fennel bulb—halved cored and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • 2 cups bone broth or chicken broth preferably homemade
  • 1 bouquet garni made of: 4 sprigs parsley 4 sprigs thyme, 2 bay leaves, 10 peppercorns, 3 whole cloves, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied
  • 4 D’Artagnan Duck Leg Confit
  • 1 pound D’Artagnan French Garlic Sausage cut into 12 slices
  • 2 cups bread crumbs preferably homemade
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Equipment: Cheesecloth & Kitchen Twine

Instructions

  1. Soak beans in a in 7 1⁄2 cups water overnight. Drain.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add half the onions and carrots and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute longer. Add ventreche and beans. Add enough water to cover at least 3 inches above beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until beans are barely tender, about 1 hour.
  3. Drain beans (reserving the broth), leave onion, carrot & garlic with beans. Remove Ventrèche, cut into ½ inch dice, set aside.

  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium heat. Add remaining garlic, onions, and carrots along with the fennel; cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until liquid thickens, 8–10 minutes. Add wine; reduce by half. Add broth and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, until liquid has thickened, about 45 minutes. Discard bouquet garni. Purée tomato mixture with immersion blender or in a blender. Set dutch oven aside.
  5. Meanwhile, sear duck legs in 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat for 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Brown sausage in the fat, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate. Pull duck meat off bones. Discard fat and bones.
  6. Heat oven to 300˚.
  7. Stir beans, ventreche, duck and sausages into the tomato mixture. Cover with bread crumbs; drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake, uncovered, for 3 hours, adding 1/2 cup of your reserved bean broth every hour. Raise oven temperature to 500˚; cook cassoulet until crust is golden, about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

After your beans are done cooking, be sure to reserve the broth. It will be drizzled over the cassoulet as it bakes in the oven, but you can also use it to make soups. 

I teamed up with D’Artagnan Foods and Languedoc Wines to bring you this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

6 comments

  1. Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama

    I am ALL about comfort food this time of year. I need warm foods to keep me toasty from the inside!

    Reply

  2. Create/Enjoy

    Wow, I have never had something like that or seen beans used that way! Sounds delicious!

    Reply

  3. Megan Joy

    I’ve never had a cassoulet but it sounds delicious! Sometimes it’s fun to take on a recipe that’s a little more labour intensive especially when they payoff is a super delicious meal!

    Reply

  4. Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife

    I’m definitely about the comfort food right now. It’s so cold! This cassoulet sounds wonderful, and those wines sound like ones hubby and I would both enjoy. Can’t wait to try them!

    Reply

  5. Paula

    Looks so crowd pleasing

    Reply

  6. claudia davis

    My parents bought me a French cooking class for the holidays this year and this was one of the dishes we made. Your recipe is almost identical to the chef who taught the class. It was a lot of fun to make this ‘quickie’ version (that’s what the chef called it because his regular version takes 2 plus days). I had never used fennel before and thought it would over power the dish but it was so perfect. It was such a cold night when we made it and it was a perfect dish to warm my tummy. I loved it and it is awesome the next days as well. Your picture looks identical to the pictures I took of the one we made in the class!

    Reply

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