1 pound Tarbais beans, soaked overnight
4 prepared duck leg confit
2 French garlic sausages, casings removed
2 (4) ounce packages diced uncured pancetta
1 long leek, cut into 1/2" slices (all but the last 2 to 3" of dark green stalk)
1 large thick carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery, diced
2 laurel bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large yellow union, peeled
8 whole cloves
1 quart chicken stock
2 quarts water
4 ounces of pork belly, chopped
Panko bread crumbs
1 organic orange, zest only
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves only
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Parmesan cheese, peeled with a vegetable peeler into ribbons
Extra virgin olive oil
Rustic bread loaf, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Heat a 5 QUART DUTCH OVEN over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the pancetta, the crumbled sausage, and the leek and cook until the meat is browned and the leeks are soft and velvety. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and leeks from the pot and reserve.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and empty the entire contents of the prepared confit into the pot skin side down. Turn the heat to medium high. Cook until the skin is crispy. Remove the duck from the pot & reserve.
4. Add the beans and their soaking liquid to the pot. Add the carrot, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme to the pot. Add 2 quarts of water to the beans.
5. Poke the whole cloves into the onion and add it to the pot.
6. Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook until the beans are tender.
7. Remove the carrot, chop, and throw it back in the pot.
8. Remove the duck from the bone and add it and the sausage, pancetta, and leek mixture to the bean pot. Stir until the meat and leeks are distributed throughout.
9. Drop the chopped pork belly onto the top of the cassoulet.
10. Place the pot in the preheated oven for at least 1 hour and keep in the oven for 2 to 3 hours.
11. Meanwhile, toast the breadcrumbs in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add the zest and the thyme and cook until golden and fragrant.
12. Take the cassoulet out of the oven. Use a set of tongs to locate and remove the bay leaves, black peppercorns, and any stiff thyme stalks.
13. Places slices of bread on a half sheet baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven to toast for 3 to 5 minutes.
14. Place the pot on the table, sprinkle with fresh parsley and pass the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
15. Serve with the toasted bread slices.
RANCHO GORDO in California grows and ships authentic cassoulet Tarbais beans developed and preserved by generations of French farmers. If unavailable, any large creamy cannellini or great northern white bean may be substituted. If garlic sausage can not be found, use any flavorful pork sausage and this dish, as it should, will reflect individual tastes and preferences.