Simplified Cassoulet Recipe -

Simplified Cassoulet

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"One big centerpiece dish that is perfect for a fall or winter buffet is cassoulet, a hearty French stew of beans, lamb or pork, sausages and roast duck breast (rather than the traditional labor-intensive duck confit). You can even substitute boneless chicken thighs or pre-roasted duck (check Asian markets or restaurants and food warehouses, and remove the skin and bones). All the meats are in bite-sized chunks--ideal when you're balancing a plate on your lap. On the side, all this substantial dish needs is a green salad and bread. While classic cassoulet is an investment of two to three days of labor, my version offers wonderful variety without the extreme time commitment. The recipe may look long, but I've made it--from start to finish, and in double this quantity--the very afternoon "

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 15 servings Change Servings


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place lamb cubes in a bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, turning to coat.
  3. Place Italian sausages, 1 cup water, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy roasting pan set over two burners. Cover with heavy-duty foil and turn heat to medium-high. Cook until sausages lose their raw color, about 5 minutes. Remove foil (reserve it) and continue to cook until water evaporates. Add smoked sausages and cook, turning frequently, until all sausages are browned, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, cut Italian sausages into bite-size chunks. Halve smoked sausages lengthwise. Set aside.
  4. Generously sprinkle duck breasts with salt and pepper. Reduce heat under roasting pan and add duck breasts, skin side down. Cook until fat has rendered and skin is mahogany brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Turn duck breasts over and continue to cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.
  6. Remove duck from pan. Drain fat from pan and reserve. Slice each breast crosswise into 4 pieces.
  7. Return roasting pan to medium-high heat. Add lamb cubes and cook, turning once, until a brown crust forms on two sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer lamb to a large ovenproof pot; set roasting pan aside. Add broth mixture and wine to lamb and cover with reserved foil, pressing down so that it almost touches meat, then sealing foil around top of pot, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Bring to a simmer and simmer for a few minutes to burn off alcohol. Seal foil completely, then cover pot with lid. Bake, without checking pot, for 1 hour and 15 minutes; meat will be very tender.
  8. Meanwhile, reheat roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add enough reserved duck fat or olive oil to pan to equal 2 tablespoons. Add onions and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add prosciutto and thyme and saute to blend flavors, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and beans and simmer to blend flavors, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  9. Transfer cooked lamb and broth to roasting pan. Add duck, sausages, and enough water to make a soupy, moist casserole. You can let the cassoulet mixture stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
  10. An hour before serving, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring cassoulet to a simmer.
  11. Mix bread crumbs, melted butter, and parsley and sprinkle over cassoulet. Bake until crumbs are golden and stew is bubbly, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, and serve.
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  • Copyright 2005 USA WEEKEND and columnist Pam Anderson. All rights reserved.

Reviews More Reviews

Mar 29, 2007

Cassoulet is a labor of love but this at least drastically cuts down on the labor. I had to make a few changes due to neccessatity: use pork shoulder instead of lamb because it is hard to find here, and used chicken thighs with skin-on for the duck. If brine the chicken thighs prior to cooking them, they develop a flavor similar to duck confit. And I have found the flavor is best if you let everything sit overnight and do the last baking the next day. Is this the same as cassuolet a French restaurant? No, but it is doable at home and captures all the great flavors without slaving for 3+ days.

Dec 27, 2007

This is a very good, solid recipe for a modern style cassoulet, and perfect for cold weather, and with the amount it makes, for having friends and family over as well. I omit proscuitto because I just don't believe it's necessary if you have good quality sausages, plus I don't like to take away from the succulent texture and flavour the duck fat gives the casserole by crossing cutting it with this type of ham but each to their own tastes. I also occasionally add rosemary and a bay leaf, but not always, and thyme does just as well alone. I don't know why this one is titled simplified cassoulet as it is very close in ingredients to the traditional which is a long list, although the timing is much less. Yet it is all well worth the effort involved. I think it is also a very enjoyable dish to make, layering your ingredients and simmering it to perfection, savouring the wonderful scent it makes as it cooks.


9 Ratings

Mar 01, 2010

Although I did not use duck, but boneless chicken breast, this receipe was superb. I did prepare it one afternoon, then let it set in the refrigerator for a day and a half and cooked it. It was wonderful, and the flavor was so European. I did save the leftovers and served them with some pasta a few days later. A lot of work, but the taste was well worth it.

Sep 17, 2009

Never having made cassoulet (simplified or not) before, I was pleased with the clear directions and methodical steps required to produce this. I followed the recipe almost exactly and adapted a few hints by the reviewers. What I found that worked was to put the whole thing together the night before and then let it sit. Complete the last baking step right before serving. I used a pork roast instead of lamb, chicken instead of duck, and omitted the proscuitto. My rural grocery stores don't have exotic ingredients like these too often. The pork was well-received but the chicken seemed a little too dry. I am personally a vegetarian, cooking for carnivores, so next time we will omit maybe the Italian sausages and add zucchini and squash just to even things out a bit. The meat gives the vegetables an excellent flavor. Delicious, delicious, delicious!

Jan 25, 2011

Delicious. I used pork shoulder, turkey thighs, lamb merguez sausage and turkey keilbasa; skipped the prosciutto. Added some celery and carrot, used fresh thyme, a 28oz can diced tomatoes and 3 - 19 oz cans navy beans. Served with fennel, apple and mixed greens salad. Guests asked for some to take home!

May 20, 2008

I loved this - used chicken (it was what I had on hand) amazingly easy. Thanks!

Jan 18, 2012

I used lamb and almost ruined it by not sealing the pot completely when braising it at 450 degrees. Despite not having the whole portion of lamb, once I'd burned it, the cassoulet turned out quite good. The portions are huge. A half recipe was several meals for my husband and me, even having seconds. Next time I will braise the lamb at a lower temperature so as not to burn it.

Aug 22, 2012

This is an excellent easy Cassoulet. Rather than spend the time prepping the duck breasts, I just bougt a jar of cofit d' canard at the local shop. One of the benefits of living in the duck capitol of the world (swear that what the sign up the road says) is that even the mini-marches have lovely duck products in tins and jars


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  • Calories
  • 572 kcal
  • 29%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 48.2 g
  • 16%
  • Cholesterol
  • 97 mg
  • 32%
  • Fat
  • 23.8 g
  • 37%
  • Fiber
  • 9.7 g
  • 39%
  • Protein
  • 38.2 g
  • 76%
  • Sodium
  • 789 mg
  • 32%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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