Slow Cooker Cassoulet
My version of this fabulous rustic French country dish, cooked in the slow cooker. This is not a fast dish to make, but it really is worth the time and effort for a very filling, warming feast. This also makes a really big pot full, so you can always freeze some for another day,
150g smoked lardons
400g Sausages – traditionally Toulouse sausages or garlic sausages are used, however I use my local farm shops homemade pork sausages, simply because they are fantastic .
600g Dried Haricot Beans – soaked overnight
1 stick of celery
6 cloves of garlic
25g goose fat
1 bouquet garni
2 tsps lemon juice
1 crushed clove
2 ripe plum tomatoes – an idea stolen from Raymond Blanc and they do make a difference
4 confit duck legs
50g duck fat
1 additional clove of garlic
chopped flat parsley
Drain the beans and put them in a large saucepan along with the lardons, cover them in cold water, bring to the boil and blanche for 15 mins, then drain and leave to one side
Heat the goose fat in a pan
Roughly chop the celery, onion, carrot and quarter the tomatoes, peel the garlic – but leave them whole
Sweat the celery, onion and garlic in the goose fat
Add the tomatoes, crushed clove and bouquet garni and cook slowly until it becomes caramelised
Add the beans and lardons
Chop your sausages into diagonal pieces – leaving them reasonably large
Add them to the pan and then add 1.5 pints of water
Season with sea salt and black pepper and add the lemon juice
Bring it to the boil and them skim off any scum.
Pour everything into you slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir the mixture occasionally
Once the beans are soft and the mixture has a creamy texture, add the duck legs by burying them under the beans
Finely chop the last clove of garlic and add it to the slow cooker
Add the breadcrumbs
Cook on high for a further hour, then turn to low and leave it to cook for another 2 hours.
Sprinkle with the parsely and serve in bowls with delicious Crusty bread like a Pain de Campagne.