Duck & Apple Cassoulet with a Herby Crust

Ingredients

CRUMB TOPPING

Method

  1. The night before you want to make this cassoulet, tip the beans into a bowl and cover with 600ml of water. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Season the duck with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Place a large ovenproof casserole dish over a medium heat, add the duck and sear all over. Cook, skin-side down, for 5 minutes, or until lovely and golden.
  4. Using tongs, transfer the duck to a plate and set aside. Spoon out any fat from the dish into a jar to use later.
  5. Peel the carrots, onions, garlic and apples. Core the apples and cut into 6 wedges, finely slice the garlic, and chop the carrots and onions. Trim and chop the celery sticks. Pick the thyme leaves and discard the stalks.
  6. Tip the chopped veggies, apple and garlic into the casserole dish along with the thyme, and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat until golden and starting to soften.
  7. Drain the soaked haricot beans and add to the dish, along with the cider, chicken stock, tomato purée and the browned duck.
  8. Bring to the boil, then transfer the dish to the oven, covering loosely with foil, and cook for 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes, or until the duck is tender.
  9. After 1 hour, check the duck, give it a stir and add a little seasoning plus some stock or water if it’s looking dry.
  10. Meanwhile, peel the garlic for the crumb topping, and pick the parsley leaves, discarding the stalks. Blitz the bread, garlic and parsley in a food processor until fine.
  11. When the duck is done, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the crumb mix, reserving a little to serve. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the reserved duck fat (or use olive oil).
  12. Return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until golden on top. Divide between plates and garnish with the reserved crumb topping.