Cassoulet of bacon & Toulouse sausage with confit pheasant
- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 8
The ultimate autumnal comfort dish - it's easy to make and feeds an army
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 onions , finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves , unpeeled
- 8 Toulouse sausages
- 400g whole piece of smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
- 2 generous glasses of red wine
- 600g good-quality chopped canned Italian tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 x 400g cans white haricot beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 50g fine white breadcrumbs
- a little chopped parsley to serve
For the pheasant
- 4 x 500g jars goose fat (it sounds a lot, but you can re-use it again and again)
- 8 pheasant legs, bone in
- 10 black peppercorns
- STEP 1
Locate your heaviest deep pan (with a lid) and put it over a low heat. Add 2 tbsp of the goose fat. Soften the celery, onions and garlic cloves, then add the sausages and brown them all for about 10-15 mins (you may have to turn the heat up a bit).
- STEP 2
Remove the rind from the bacon and cut the bacon into 8 square chunks. Add the bacon and rind to the pot and pour in the red wine and tomatoes; I like to put the smoked rind in for flavour then pick it out later. Add the bay leaf and thyme, cover and simmer very slowly for 3 hrs.
- STEP 3
While the base is cooking, prepare the confit. This could also be done well in advance, since it keeps so well. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2 and season the pheasant legs well with sea salt and pepper. Pack these together tightly into an ovenproof casserole and cover with the goose fat. Add the peppercorns and cook for 2½ hrs, until the pheasant is tender. Remove the legs carefully from the hot fat and drain on a rack above a roasting tray. Increase the oven temp to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. If you are making these ahead, cool and store in the fat in the fridge. To serve, heat gently to melt so you can lift out the legs.
- STEP 4
To finish, tip the sausage mix into an ovenproof dish, stir in the beans with some seasoning and sit the pheasant legs on top. Sprinkle the whole thing with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 mins until golden. Scatter with parsley to serve.