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Cassoulet Tarbais
from the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John

4 cups dried haricot Tarbais
12 pound slab of bacon
A small bunch fresh parsley leaves, reserve the stems
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole cloves
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
Reserved fat
2 medium white onions, sliced
Duck confit, refrigerated
8 cloves of garlic, peeled, plus 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups duck stock, plus more as needed
4 cups chopped tomatoes
14 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 pound piece of garlic sausage,
1 cup moderately pressed-down fresh white crumbs from crustless, nonsweet French or Italian bread
2 deboned duck breasts.

This recipe takes several hours to make.

In a large saucepan, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil then add the beans. Remove from heat and
let soak for 1 hour.

Cut the bacon slab into 4 large chunks. Place in a second saucepan and cover with water; turn the
heat to medium, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for approximately
30 minutes.

Create a bouquet garni by combining the parsley stems, thyme, bay leaves and whole cloves in a large
rice or tea ball. Add it, along with the bacon, to the beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat
to a gentle simmer. Cook, skimming occasionally, until the beans are just tender, 50 to 90 minutes.
Add more water if necessary. The beans should be moist but not swimming when they're done. Taste and
adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Place 3 tablespoons of the reserved duck fat in a large pot
over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the lamb and seer the pieces well. Add the onions and cook,
stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 or 6 minutes; turn off heat.

Bring the duck confit from the refrigerator and scrape off the fat; remove the bones and shred the meat.
Add the meat and garlic cloves to the pot with the lamb, along with 2 cups duck stock, tomatoes, chopped
garlic and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook covered, stirring
occasionally, until the lamb is quite tender, 1 to 1 12 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning as neces-

To assemble the cassoulet, remove the bouquet garni. Cut the fat from the meat and cut the meat into
small pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons reserved duck fat in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the
sausage and cook, turning until well browned; transfer to a cutting board and slice into quarter-inch
rounds. Set aside the unwashed pan for later use.

Heat the oven to 375°. With a slotted spoon, transfer a layer of beans to a large enameled cast-iron pot.
You'll want to leave behind most of the cooking liquid. Distribute half of the sausage and bacon on top
of the first layer of beans, then another layer of beans, then half the duck-and-lamb mixture. Repeat the
layers until you have used all of the beans and meats.

Place the pot over a medium heat and bring to a simmer, uncovered, then turn off heat. Cover with bread
crumbs and chopped parsley leaves. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

While the cassoulet is in the oven, put the skillet used for cooking the sausage over medium-high heat. When
it's hot, cook the duck breasts, skin-side down, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook another
minute or so. With a slotted spoon remove the duck from the pan and pour the drippings from the pan over the
cassoulet; reduce the oven heat to 350°.

Bake the cassoulet until it's hot, bubbling and has a browned crust around the edges, approximately 30 to 40
minutes; add a bit of the duck stock if it begins to look too dry. Slice the duck breasts on the diagonal and
transfer them to the pot, tucking them into the bread crumbs. Cook until the breasts are medium rare, approxi-
mately another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.


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