A cassoulet is an Occitan dish–that part of Southern France where they speak a beautiful and fading romance language, Occitan.
It is a stew of beans and meat; sometimes pork, sometimes goose, or mutton or whatever else they please. It is hearty and traditionally cooked in a cassole, a deep earthenware pot with slanted sides.
But since I am not Occitan, but me, I cooked mine in a skillet.
I had returned from a morning of duck hunting in New Orleans with a few ducks and coot, and had visions of cassoulet. I wanted mostly to include it in my next book as a recipe. And so I took all of the big gizzards of the coot and their muscular legs, and the tiny legs of the teal and with some salt, star anise, orange peel and a good dose of duck fat, I turned them into a confit.
Once I had a pile of confit meat the next day, I combined them with some caramelized pearl onions, some homemade bacon, white beans, rosemary and other aromatic bits and finished it all with some breadcrumbs.
The result was quite lovely. It was a baked stew of sorts, in the French style, and makes use of all of the duck parts–slightly set; warm, chewy, soft, and a bit custardy.
My favorite thing about this dish is that the meal is cooked and served in the same skillet. The recipe suggests duck leg confit, but the gizzards, hearts and other offal can be confited and used here as well. Be sure not to add much if any salt to this recipe, since the confit already has plenty of salt from the cure.