Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 1 hour
We love using the slow cooker at LittlePod HQ – it is such a convenient and cost-effective way of feeding the family, especially if its members are in and out at different times. A hot one-pot meal is a great idea, particularly on those cold days. Janet made this cassoulet for a live music event held in my village and everyone was talking about the depth of flavour in the stock. By simply rubbing the vanilla paste into the duck breast, searing in the sweetness of the duck, the slow cooking did the rest.
1 medium potato
3 medium onions plus 1 for the stock
1 celery stick
4 garlic cloves, plus 1 for the stock
560 ml chicken stock or water
1 small duck
1 teaspoon LittlePod vanilla paste, or 1 vanilla pod, (seeds only)
500 g neck fillet of lamb
225 g whole garlic sausage, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons plain flour
350 g streaky bacon
4 tablespoons tomato purée
275 ml dry white wine
225-g can haricot beans
4 carrots, par-boiled
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
slow cooker (optional)
1. Switch on the slow cooker or preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F) Gas 4.
2. To make the stock, chop and sauté the potato, 1 onion, the celery stick, leek and garlic. Add the chicken stock or water. When cooked, use a blender to create a base stock (as you would when making a soup). Pop into a slow cooker or earthenware pot.
3. Prepare the meat. Quarter the duck and separate the breasts.
5. Toss the duck legs and lamb fillet into the flour, with a little seasoning added in.
6. In a large frying pan, cook the bacon (grill beforehand if you prefer), then gradually add the lamb and duck meat (minus duck breast) to sear and then set aside. Use the same pan to sear the duck breast then set aside as well. Then, cook the remaining onion and garlic and add tomato purée and wine. Add the bouquet garni and reduce until thicker. Add the beans, carrots and the Worcestershire sauce.
7. Combine everything into your slow cooker, or if you’re cooking it in the oven, in an earthenware pot, and season to taste. Cook for 1 hour in the preheated oven (or, if using a slow cooker, until the meat is tender).
8. Accompany with your favourite crusty loaf or potato dish.