As we often do, we used the recipe as a suggestion. We did not add tomatoes. We did not have duck confit. We did, however, leave the Chico Locker and Sausage Company with a selection of their spicy sausage, a couple of meaty country pork ribs, and ham hocks. Then we stopped at S&S Produce where we got two duck legs and a few strips of smoked bacon from the butcher, and fresh oregano, fresh thyme and a loaf of whole wheat rosemary bread.
- 1 lb dried cannelini
- lots of garlic, minced
- 1 fat onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, cut in 1/4 inch-thick slices
- 1 BIG meaty ham hock
- about 1 lb. cubed pork -- cut into small cubes so they cook thoroughly
- 3-4 spicy sausages
- 3 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped, fried and drained (save the bacon grease!)
- 2 duck legs
- fresh oregano and thyme
- 1 cup chardonnay
- chicken broth
- 2 cups bread crumbs, preferably homemade from a tasty loaf of bread (we used a rustic rosemary bread baked locally)
Step 1: Cook the beans
- Start the beans on simmer in 2:1 ration of water to beans. I don't bother soaking them.
- Render the bacon and set the meat aside to cool.
- Brown the carrots, onions and garlic in the bacon fat.
- Add these veggies and a ham hock to the beans and cook until the beans are just a little al dente.
- Set the pot on a back burner and take the ham hock out to cool, then remove the meat from the bone and give it a rough chop.
- Skin the duck breasts and render the fat. Set this aside to cool. Chop the cracklins.
Step 3: Prep the sausage
- Slice and sauté the sausage until it's almost done. Scoop out the meat to drain on paper towels. (I didn't reuse this fat.)
Step 4: Make the bread crumbs
I think you can figure out this step yourself.
Step 5: Layer the casserole
- In a 5.5-quart cast iron dutch oven like this one my hubby gifted me for my bday, begin layering the beans, fresh herbs and meats: beans, duck cracklins, sausage, pork, ham hock bits, a generous sprinkle of oregano and thyme leaves, then beans, rinse and repeat.
- Nest the duck legs in the casserole.
- Add the wine and enough broth to keep things moist. You may not need much broth since you're also using the luscious liquid from cooking the beans.
- Top with fresh bread crumbs. Don't be stingy with the bread crumbs. Think of it as a crust.
- Drizzle the rendered duck fat over the topping.
- Cover and bake approximately 90 minutes at 325 degrees.
- Before you turn off the oven, confirm that the meats are cooked and the breadcrumb topping is toasty brown.
Step 6: Prepare to be impressed with this melt in your mouth goodness.