Notes on confit / cassoulet:The important thing to remember about confit and cassoulet is that they are complex dishes that one should not expect to complete in one day. The good news is that they keep for long periods because of the preservation qualities of duck fat. By most accounts, the recipes here represent a “quick” version of confit and cassoulet. Some recipes require up to 20 involved steps. I would recommend reading up on cassoulet before attempting this or any other confit/cassoulet recipe.
Start by soaking the beans overnight, then drain them. Put them in a large saucepot and cover with water, simmer for 1 ½ hrs until al dente, put aside to cool. While the beans simmer, cut the sausage into ½-3/4 inch pieces and lightly brown them with the bacon pieces. Remove the sausage and bacon from the pan and add the carrot, onion and celery and lightly saute for 2 minutes while seasoning with salt and pepper. (your duck legs may already be salty, in addition to your bacon, so be careful with the salt).
Carefully place the confit duck legs and the sausage in a heavy casserole dish. (At least 3 quart size) Add the drained and cooked beans, the sautéed vegetables, the garlic, bacon, tomatoes and herbs. Pour the chicken stock over everything and bake covered in a 325 degree oven for 1-1/2-2 hrs. Increase the heat to 400, remove the cover, add the remaining duck fat and bread crumbs and brown the top for 7-10 minutes. Allow to rest and remove any excess fat (if you wish). Serve with a robust red wine and some crusty bread, and you have cassoulet!
Saltimboca comes from the Italian “Jump in the mouth”. Its flavor is unmistakable; it’s a simple classic. When executed properly with quality ingredients, the results are outstanding.
Lay two fresh sage leaves flat on each scaloppini, then lay a slice of prosciutto over the leaves, evenly covering the scaloppini. Using round toothpicks, fasten the prosciutto and the sage to the scaloppini. Sprinkle the non-sage sides with fresh ground pepper.
Heat 1 tbl of the butter in a large saute pan to med-high, do not burn. Lay each scaloppini toothpick-side down and let sear for 3 minutes, then turn and cook an additional 2 minutes. Transfer scaloppini to a serving dish, increase heat and add marsala to pan, reduce by ½, remove from heat, swirl in the remaining butter and serve. Mangia!
Serving options: This dish goes well with pasta, gnocchi and/or steamed spinach with pine nuts and raisins.
For the cous cous:
Bring 4 cups water to a boil,
Pour over 4 cups couscous, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, ½ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Cut the belly into 4 equal squares. Grind the fennel and coriander in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Combine with the salt and pepper and rub onto the pork belly on all sides. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepot or roasting pan to med-high heat. Sear the belly pieces on all sides. Remove from the pot, add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the water, wine and bay, place the belly back in the pot with it. (If skin on, skin side should be up and not submerged in liquid). Place in oven uncovered and allow to simmer for 1.5-2 hrs or until tender. Remove from oven; create a sauce by skimming the fat from the cooking liquid. Strain the liquid into a saucepan, add the mustard and reduce by ¼.
For the lentils: