Preparation / Directions:
Drain beans and place in kettle or large saucepan. Cover with water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, thyme, bay leaf, and sausage. Bring to boil, and simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside. Continue simmering for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook salt pork in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. In large saucepan, heat chicken fat. Add lamb. Add remaining salt and cook until slightly browned on all sides. Pour off excess fat. Add onions and cook until onions are well browned. Cover with water. Add tomato paste, garlic, pepper, and boiled salt pork. Correct seasoning. Bring to boil, and simmer gently.
Drain beans and add to pan. Return sausage to pan. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until meat and beans are tender. Rub the inside of a very large ovenproof dish with a clove of garlic. Remove lamb and sausage from pan and turn contents of pan into ovenproof dish. Cut sausage into slices approximately 1/2-inch thick. Arrange lamb and sausage on top of beans. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Dot with butter. Broil under broiling flame for 5 minutes, or until well browned. Serve hot.
Comments: Each region of France has its own Cassoulet which is somewhat different from the others. But Cassoulet Toulousain (from the city of Toulouse in the French Pyrenees) has achieved a well-deserved fame, and is served all over France.
When possible, Cassoulet includes "oie confite" (goose preserved in its own fat). Duck may replace goose. When neither goose nor duck is available, Cassoulet is still superb.
If you wish to serve an hors-d'oeuvre, serve a very light one (clams, oysters, etc.). Cassoulet with a tossed green salad and the lightest desert makes a plentiful meal. With it you will drink a full-bodied red wine.
Cassoulet can be prepared in advance and reheated in the oven.
Recipe Source: THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING by Fernande Garvi