Chorizo, garlic and thyme – that’s all I could smell on my hands during my Bikram yoga class this afternoon. And it was such a tease. This is what I’d been chopping for a cassoulet that was slow cooking in the oven, while I slow cooked in the hot yoga room.
So the weather really hasn’t improved much since my last couple of blog posts, it’s been cold and it’s been wet. And on the wettest June day in 21-years the other week, I moved house. White sheets of rain pounded every which way but up.
So now I’m surrounded by boxes, that have finally dried out (along with my damp post-house moving spirits) and I’ve decided I need to cook something to suit this cold and wet mood… and preferably something that doesn’t require unearthing my kitchen from said boxes to create. Cue, a Cassoulet.
The Cassoulet I’d been inspired cook, isn’t actually the one I ended up making. I’ve taken a little from Matt Moran‘s recipe and improvised the rest with what was on hand and the swag of pork, duck and meaty goods I picked up at Victor Churchill butchers in Woollahra. A little laborious, but if you’re anything like me, it’s a labour of love.
Serves 8; Prep time: 40 minutes; Cook time: 2-2.5 hours
400g pork loin (fat on)
2 confit duck legs
4 chorizo sausages
200g duck rillette
1L chicken stock
Can of white beans
500ml red wine
2 carrots, diced
1 brown onion, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 sprigs thyme
¼ cup parsley, chopped (for breadcrumb chopping)
1 tsp thyme, chopped (for breadcrumb topping)
Rind of ½ an orange
– Remove the confit duck meat from the bones and shred with your fingers. Drain the beans and set aside
– Meanwhile heat half of the stock, the olive oil and butter in an earthenware or enamelled cast-iron casserole dish over medium heat and cook the carrots, celery, onions, garlic and thyme for 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the red wine, increase the heat to high and cook for 15-20 minutes until the liquid is reduced by a third. Transfer the contents of the casserole dish to a large bowl and set aside
– Cut the chorizo into 2 cm slices return the casserole dish to medium-high heat and fry in their own fat for 5 minutes until well browned. Sear the pork loin at the same time
– Add the stock and beans to the casserole dish along with the remaining red wine reduction and sautéed vegetables. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low, add bouquet garni, orange rind and confit duck meat. Season with a good amount of salt and pepper, cover and leave to simmer slowly for 2 hours, stirring occasionally
– About half an hour before the end of the cooking time, pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Cut the crusts of the baguette then tear into pieces and use a blender or food processor to make into coarse breadcrumbs. Heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a frying pan over high heat, then add the chopped garlic and breadcrumbs and cook until golden brown. Remove casserole from the heat, add the duck rillette and stir to combine. Toss in the parsley and thyme through the breadcrumbs, stir and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the herb and breadcrumb mixture, then transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is crispy and golden