French Cassoulet with Karen McFarlane

by Olivia McCrimmon September 27, 2022 2 min read

French Cassoulet with Karen McFarlane

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It doesn't get much cosier than Karen McFarlane'sFrench Cassoulet for your Tuesday night! Like most recipes, there are many iterations of this beauty and it was originally a peasant dish invented to use up all the leftover meats from the house, so use what you have. Everything melds together in the oven and the taste is rich and delicious, and perfect for sharing. You can find more of her delicious recipes at

Serves 6


  • 2 tbs (40g) duck fat
  • 6 Toulouse sausages
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
  • 500g dried haricot beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 1kg pork belly, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs continental parsley
  • 4 confit duck marylands
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper
  • continental parsley, finely chopped & sourdough bread, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. 
  2. Heat the duck fat in a large cast iron casserole over medium heat. Add sausages and brown all over, then transfer to a plate.
  3. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft.
  4. Add garlic and cook for a further 1 minute until fragrant. Drain the beans and discard the water.
  5. Add the beans to the casserole, along with the pork belly pieces and stock. Using kitchen twine, tie together the bay leaves, thyme and parsley to make a bouquet garni and add this to the casserole.
  6. Slice the reserved sausages in half and add to the casserole, along with the confit duck legs. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Bring to a simmer and remove any scum that may rise to the surface.
  8. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours uncovered until the beans are tender, the liquid has reduced and the top has browned nicely.
  9. Remove bouquet garni and discard.
  10. Serve cassoulet sprinkled with parsley and with sourdough bread on the side.

Photo by Carmen Zammit