Instead of one giant Christmas meal that results in leftovers lasting days we have parsed the feasting to smaller bits (still with leftovers, mind) with the plan of having the annual cassoulet on the Day. So, Sunday was roast pheasant (which left a whole bird and the leg quarters of another) to strip for part of the stew. To the right, the duck offal can be seen boiling into a nice broth for part of the cassoulet effort:
Monday we had a Tuscan style pasta (due to our Franco and Anna shopping) with some fennel sausages, a spinach a broth substitute for escarole soup, cannelini, tomatoes, and a shitpot full of garlic. Amazingly, there is a small portion of this leftover but it wasn’t to be part of the cassoulet (although it could have been). Tuesday, it was to be duck cooked as the ‘Amazing Five hour duck.’ Essentially, you put it in a 140° C oven turning and piercing hourly for 4 hours then brown it up at 170° C the last hour.We took the breasts and I freed the flesh from the rest for another stew layer.
I promised no lamb this year but that is traditional (both promising to leave it out and eventually putting it in — go ahead, there is a juvenile chuckle in there for you). We always have some lamb and it is always a good part of the stew. But, I have given up on finding the garlic sausage I want and this year just got a couple of smoked gammon steaks to chop into a layer instead of the sausages.
The white beans soaked in the fridge overnight and went on the stove at breakfast to soften. This year I went for fresh tomatoes, too. The veg was a leek, some carrots, and celery cooked slowly till not-quite-soft in the fat of some pancetta (chopped and left in) and a blob of the duck fat.
And, the lamb sat in some salt and coarsely broken garlic until just before layering, then these were cooked quickly in the remaining fat from the veg effort.
The layering goes thus… tomatoes/spices/lamb-garlic/veg:
Then, duck/tomatoes/beans/sausage (I used smoked gammon instead):
And, the rest of the veg, more duck and the pheasant, the last of the beans, and more tomatoes:
And finish off with half a bottle of a decent white wine:
This should bake, covered, for an hour after it starts bubbling in a 180º C oven, then get pulled to cover with a mixture of bread crumbs, butter and parmesan cheese before going back in, uncovered until brown. Eat until you pop open.