Chef of the Evening

Wendy Taylor took home accolades for her Cassoulet dish at March’s Rhone Mini-Tasting. It was Wendy’s first time making this recipe

“I also never had used Duck Confit before,” says Wendy,
who joined the OCWS with husband Stacey 20 years ago
when the newly married couple sought out an activity they
could enjoy together. “It was very flavorful and everything
including the fat of the confit was used. It was a perfect
complement to the Rhone wines served.”

Wendy says she loves this type of recipe for a potluck
because it is all in one dish.

“A casserole dish is awesome for keeping the heat in
the dish while traveling and waiting to be served at the
event location,” Wendy says.

The recipe is a variation of one she found online,
only Wendy altered the recipe by adding cooked,
chopped carrots, celery and onion to the dish prior to

1 lb dried white beans
8 1/4 cups cold water
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups chopped onion (3/4 lb.)
3 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic (6 large
1 (3”) piece celery, cut into thirds
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
3 whole cloves
3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs plus
1/2 cup chopped leaves
1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 (14-oz.) can stewed tomatoes,
puréed or finely chopped with juice
4 confit duck legs* (1 3/4 lb. total)
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil (if necessary)
1 lb. cooked garlic pork sausage* or
smoked pork kielbasa, cut crosswise
into 1/3”-thick slices
2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
(preferably from a baguette)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Step 1
Cover beans with cold water by 2” in
large bowl and soak 8-12 hours. Drain
in colander.

Step 2
Transfer beans to 6- to 8-quart pot
and bring to boil with 8 cups cold
water, broth, tomato paste, onion,
and 2 Tbsp. garlic. Put celery, thyme,
bay leaf, cloves, parsley sprigs, and
peppercorns in cheesecloth and
tie into bundle with string to make
bouquet garni. Add bouquet garni to
beans, then reduce heat and simmer,
uncovered, until beans are almost
tender (45 minutes to 1 hour). Stir
in tomatoes with juice and simmer
until beans are just tender (about 15

Step 3
Remove skin and fat from duck legs
and cut skin and fat into 1/2” pieces.
Separate duck meat from bones,
leaving it in large pieces, and transfer
meat to bowl. Add bones to bean pot.

Step 4
Cook duck skin and fat with remaining
1/4 cup cold water in a 10” heavy skillet
over moderate heat, stirring, until water
is evaporated and fat is rendered,
about 5 minutes. Continue to cook,
stirring frequently, until skin is crisp, 3-6
minutes more. Transfer cracklings with
slotted spoon to paper towels to drain,
leaving fat in skillet. (You should have
about 1/4 cup fat; if not, add olive oil.)

Step 5
Brown sausage in batches in fat in
skillet, then transfer to bowl with duck
meat, reserving skillet.

Step 6
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Step 7
Add remaining tablespoon garlic to fat
in skillet and cook over moderate heat,
stirring, 1 minute. Stir in breadcrumbs
and cook, stirring, until pale golden,
about 2 minutes. Remove from heat
and stir in chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp.
salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and cracklings.

Step 8
Remove bouquet garni and duck
bones from beans and discard, then
stir in kielbasa, duck meat, remaining
teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 tsp.
Step 9
Ladle cassoulet into casserole dish,
distributing meat and beans evenly.
(Meat and beans should be level with
liquid; if they are submerged, ladle
excess liquid back into pot and boil until
reduced, then pour back into casserole
dish.) Spread breadcrumb topping
evenly over cassoulet.

Step 10
Bake in lower third of oven until bubbling
and the crust is golden, about
1 hour.