Duck & Apple Cassoulet with a Herby Crust
- 200 g dried haricot beans
- 1 x 1.5 kg whole duck , cut into 8 pieces (ask your butcher to do this)
- 2 large carrots
- 2 onions
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2-3 eating apples
- 4 sticks of celery
- ½ a bunch of fresh thyme
- 100 ml Somerset cider , (cloudy, richer farmhouse style)
- 1 litre organic chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 100 g stale bread
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Season the duck with sea salt and black pepper.
- 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.
- Using tongs, transfer the duck to a plate and set aside. Spoon out any fat from the dish into a jar to use later.
- 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.
- 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.
- Drain the soaked haricot beans and add to the dish, along with the cider, chicken stock, tomato purée and the browned duck.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until golden on top. Divide between plates and garnish with the reserved crumb topping.