Not the time consuming two day project of a traditional cassoulet.
What is a cassoulet you say? Well if you like white beans then let me tell you about this cassoulet. No it isn’t a casserole it’s a slow cooked dish (maybe casserole would be a stretch) that contains meats like bacon, pork sausage, ham, pork skin, duck and can have goose or mutton.
Making a traditional (French) cassoulet would take you a couple of days at least. By the time you make your duck confit and prep everything and then cook for hours the next day, you have invested a lot of time into what you might think is just beans and ham. The first time I we made this (or Paul/Scott made it) we did the confit one day and we used dried beans and not canned beans. It gets stirred during the day while cooking so the crusty top layer gets pushed to the bottom. If you want to see their results look here.
I won’t go into more details in making the tradition version because this Cassoulet Toast is easy. I first saw the recipe at David Lebovitz’s site and was one he had made from Susan Spungen’s book The Open Kitchen. Susan is a cook, food stylist, recipe developer and author. I started following her on Instagram because of her food pictures and now I own her book and can’t wait to try some of her recipes.
This is a great open face sandwich which I did two ways, one with the buttered and toasted country bread cut 1″ thick and then I had an idea to make a sheet pan of cornbread 1″ thick and cut squares about 5″ to put the cassoulet on. After all don’t you always eat cornbread with beans. It was great both ways.
This recipe varies a little from her recipe because I added some of the meats we had used when we made the traditional cassoulet for the first time; duck confit, thick sliced bacon, ham bits and some smoked sausage. Susan’s recipe just used the duck which you can do if you have duck on hand. If you don’t have duck, don’t worry just use the other meats I mentioned. Something else I did a little different was I wanted it thicker, more like the traditional version so I put it in the oven for a couple of hours to thicken up. I topped mine with some parsley leaves and some thinly sliced purple endive.
Don’t be scared off by the sound of making this; after all, you can’t go wrong with beans and cornbread. Can you? Duck Confit can take hours to make and about $20 worth of duck fat but here is David’s recipe for counterfeit duck confit that I made and I did not spend anything on duck fat.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: This Shrimp Louie Salad will be great for the hot summer days.
Smoked Sausage (cut in smaller pieces that this), bacon and some ham along with the duck confit I made a few days earlier are the meats that go into this cassoulet toast recipe.
I sauted the bacon, and sausage together and then added in small pieces of ham.
I used canned beans and added in the sautéed sausage, cut up ham and sautéed bacon.
The onions get caramelized until nice and golden. This can take up to 30 minutes or longer. Do then slowly and on a low/medium heat.
Put the onions into the mix and all the spices and some broth. I put this in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes so it would get nice and thick but you could serve it right away.
This is the second option of how to serve this sandwich. I made a sheet pan of cornbread and cut into large rectangles and put the cassoulet mixture on top. Personally, I liked it better because I didn’t need a knife to eat it. I garnished with some parsley and some purple endive.
- 1 prepared confit duck leg optional*
- 1/2 ring of smoked sausage cut in slices then in quarters
- 1/2 lb. bacon cut in 1” pieces
- 1 c. smoked ham cut in small pieces
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 cans white beans great northern or Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 c. chopped canned tomatoes drained
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 c. chicken broth or water
- country style bread or homemade cornbread
- Italian parsley garnish
- purple endive or radicchio shredded for garnish
- Saute the bacon and sausage together. When the bacon is almost crisp, add in the smoked ham pieces. When everything is nice and brown remove to a bowl and set aside.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat half of the olive oil and the onions and the garlic cloves. Cook very slowly until the onions have caramelized. This can take around 25 minutes.
- Add in the beans, the tomatoes, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Add in the chicken broth and turn the heat up to a medium high and simmer. Using a potato masher mash about 1-2 cups of the beans. You can either remove them to another bowl and mash or mash against the side of the pan. This will thicken the mixture.
- To this pot of beans add in the sautéed meats, the duck, and the onions. You can either serve this now over your toasted bread or corn bread or put in the oven. I put mine in the oven for about an hour so it would cook down like a traditional cassoulet.
- When ready to serve cut a thick slice of the country style bread and toast on both sides. If you want to try it with cornbread then make your cornbread in a shallow sheet pan so it doesn’t rise over 1”. Either way you serve this top your baked cornbread or toasted country bread with about 1 cup of the bean mixture.
Note: If you are using confit duck use this recipe for counterfeit duck confit which will save you the expense of duck fat