Roast Duck and Sausage Cassoulet
by our in-house chef Jeff Mosher
4 duck legs, or you can substitute chicken thighs
1 pound mild Italian sausage
2 cans cooked white beans
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch braising greens, such as kale or rainbow chard
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch marjoram, chopped or sub fresh oregano
2 lemons, zested and juiced
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Season duck legs liberally with salt and pepper the day before if possible. Remove them from the fridge and pat dry, and then sear in a hot pan with a neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola or a mild olive oil. Cook the legs skin side down for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat until the skin is browned. Flip the duck in the pan and transfer to a 350-degree oven and roast until cooked through, about 15 minutes. While the duck is in the oven you can start making the cassoulet.
Slice the sausage and brown it in a heavy bottom pot with a little neutral oil. Once browned remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Add the onions and sauté on low heat for about 5 minutes. Once the onions have started to soften add the carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Next add your braising greens, chicken stock, and chopped marjoram. Let the stock come up to a simmer and let it simmer for a few minutes to cook the greens. While the greens are cooking add the beans and add the sausage back in. pull the duck legs from the oven and nestle them into the stew, partially submerged. Let everything simmer together for 5 minutes and taste the cassoulet for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to you taste. Before serving add the lemon zest and chopped parsley. Taste again and add lemon juice if desired. The lemon zest and juice will add brightness which acts as a counter point to the savory flavors of the cassoulet. Ladle the cassoulet into bowls and top each bowl with a roasted duck leg.
Note: Cassoulet is a traditional French country dish. I like this combination with our wine, but traditionally there were many different variations. You can vary the vegetables to suit your tastes or the season, as well as the meats. If you have some leftover braised lamb or pork you can make a quick dinner with the beans and a few vegetables. Also, as I mentioned above it goes very well with roast chicken thighs if the duck legs are not available.
Wine recommendation: The duck cassoulet is a great match for the light tannins and bright red fruit characteristics of our Napa Valley Pinot Noir. The dish is savory but not heavy with all the vegetables and lemon so the fruit and acid in the wine shine through. Bon Appetit!