This must be one of the classic carnivore fests – large quantities of various meats buried in meltingly tender haricot beans. (The other carnivore fest is Choucroute Alsacienne which has large quantities of meat buried in sauerkraut.) Start your Cassoulet a month early by preserving your own duck! I have adapted this recipe from a Roux Brothers recipe, largely to assist with some of the more difficult-to-find ingredients.


serves: 6 – 8
preparation time: 1 month!
cooking time: 4 hrs


  • 500g dried haricot beans, soaked overnight
  • lamb – 2 neck fillets or ½ shoulder
  • 500g pork – belly or shoulder
  • 6 Toulouse sausages
  • 200g fresh pork rind
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 1 medium onion stuck with 2 cloves
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 10 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 tbs goose or duck fat
  • 150g tomatoes, skinned, deseeded & chopped
  • 25g fresh parsley
  • 50g dried white breadcrumbs
  • 2 preserved duck legs
  • salt


Bone any of your chosen meat cuts that require it. Cut the pork and lamb into chunks of about 3 cms. Roll the pork rind into a sausage shape and tie with kitchen string.

Drain the beans, put them in a large casserole and cover with plenty of clean unsalted water. Add the whole peeled carrot, the onion, bouquet garni, crushed peppercorns and halved garlic cloves. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently. Skim the surface as necessary. After 20 mins, put in the pork rind and continue to simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the duck fat in a frying pan and quickly brown the lamb in it on all sides. Remove the lamb to a plate and sear the Toulouse sausages in the fat also, just to give some colour (they will be cooked later). Remove the sausages and save them alongside the lamb.

When the beans have been cooking for one hour, add the pork chunks and tomatoes. Continue to simmer, keeping the beans covered with boiling water.

When the beans have been cooking for 1½ hours, add the lamb chunks and continue simmering.

When the beans have been cooking for 2½ hours, add the browned Toulouse sausages and simmer for another 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas 2. After 3 hours, teh beans should be melting and the meats succulent and tender. Discard the carrot, onion and bouquet garni. Remove the pork rind and reserve. Now salt the beans to taste.

Mince the pork rind (or process in a blender). Mix in the parsley and breadcrumbs. Slice any very large pieces of meat in the cassoulet and cut the sausages into chunks. Shred the preserved duck legs and stir them into the cassoulet. Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the top and bake in the oven for about 45 mins. A crust should form. Serve it straight from the casserole, perhaps with a green side salad.

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