This is the world's greatest baked bean recipe, and a classic French dish; it's almost the national dish. It's perfect for a cold winter night.

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
2 hrs 40 mins
additional:
8 hrs
total:
11 hrs
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 servings
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Beans:
Remaining Components:
Topping:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Soak Great Northern beans in water in a large bowl overnight. Drain beans and place into a large soup pot. Push whole clove into the 1/2 onion and add to beans; stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and 10 cups water. Bring beans to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat until beans have started to soften, about 1 hour. Drain beans and reserve the cooking liquid, removing and discarding onion with clove and bay leaf. Transfer beans to a large mixing bowl.

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  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  • Cook bacon in a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium heat until lightly browned and still limp, about 5 minutes. Stir celery, carrots, and 1/2 diced onion into bacon; season with salt. Cook and stir vegetables in the hot bacon fat until tender, about 10 minutes.

  • Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat; brown sausage link halves and duck confit in the hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes per side.

  • Season vegetable-bacon mixture with 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, cracked black pepper, and herbes de Provence; pour in diced tomatoes. Cook and stir mixture over medium heat until juice from tomatoes has nearly evaporated and any browned bits of food on the bottom of pot have dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir mixture into beans.

  • Spread half the bean mixture into the heavy Dutch oven and place duck-sausage mixture over the beans; spread remaining beans over meat layer. Pour just enough of the reserved bean liquid into pot to reach barely to the top of the beans, reserving remaining liquid. Bring bean cassoulet to a simmer on stovetop and cover Dutch oven with lid.

  • Bake bean cassoulet in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add 4 crushed garlic cloves, panko crumbs, and parsley to the melted butter. Season with salt and black pepper, and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over crumbs. Stir to thoroughly combine.

  • Uncover cassoulet and check liquid level; mixture should still have several inches of liquid. If beans seem dry, add more of the reserved bean liquid. Spread half the crumb mixture evenly over the beans and return to oven. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. There should be about 2 or 3 inches of liquid at the bottom of the pot; if mixture seems dry, add more reserved bean mixture. Sprinkle remaining half the bread crumb mixture over cassoulet.

  • Turn oven heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake cassoulet, uncovered, until crumb topping is crisp, edges are bubbling, and the bubbles are slow and sticky, 20 to 25 more minutes. Serve beans on individual plates and top each serving with a piece of duck and several sausage pieces.

Cook's Note:

Feel free to mix up the pork products in this dish. You can use pork shoulder instead of bacon, for example.

Nutrition Facts

524 calories; protein 30.9g; carbohydrates 54g; fat 23.7g; cholesterol 81mg; sodium 1208.1mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (10)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
02/24/2015
I have made cassoulet several times recently using this recipe. This is beyond delicious. It's pure comfort. I did alter a few things. I made the duck confit so I had both duck stock and loads of duck fat. I cooked the beans in the stock and sauteed the veggies in the fat. I also had a couple tbls of tomato paste on hand so I caramelized it in the duck fat and added it with the canned tomatoes. I used fennel instead of celery and added some of the fennel fronds to the crumb topping. I used a combo of andouille sausage and garlic sausage cooked in red wine(after all- what's French food without a little wine?) till the wine had reduced to a few tablespoons. I added the reduced wine to the cassoulet and then browned the sausage. I cooked the cassoulet up to the second addition of crumbs then refrigerated overnight. I reheated the next day and added the final topping of crumbs and baked till I got those slow sticky bubbles Chef John calls for. This stuff is beautiful. Read More
(20)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
12/03/2017
My husband is French and he loves to make Cassoulet. However, in his recipe, he uses Pork hocks which he cooks separately, with the bay leaf, garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley and onion and he doesn't use the duck confit. He adds chopped morsels of chorizo and slices smoked sausage into rounds. The Pork hocks are deboned and the meat shredded, and he chops the skin of the hocks into bite size pieces. He adds carrots and celery with the beans and adds all to the meats in one pot on the stove with salt and pepper to taste. No need for the topping listed here in your recipe. It's quite a bit more simple to do it his way and delicious. For me, I like to add more bean liquid or beef and chicken broth and eat it as a delicious bean soup. Read More
(10)
18 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 12
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
02/23/2015
I have made cassoulet several times recently using this recipe. This is beyond delicious. It's pure comfort. I did alter a few things. I made the duck confit so I had both duck stock and loads of duck fat. I cooked the beans in the stock and sauteed the veggies in the fat. I also had a couple tbls of tomato paste on hand so I caramelized it in the duck fat and added it with the canned tomatoes. I used fennel instead of celery and added some of the fennel fronds to the crumb topping. I used a combo of andouille sausage and garlic sausage cooked in red wine(after all- what's French food without a little wine?) till the wine had reduced to a few tablespoons. I added the reduced wine to the cassoulet and then browned the sausage. I cooked the cassoulet up to the second addition of crumbs then refrigerated overnight. I reheated the next day and added the final topping of crumbs and baked till I got those slow sticky bubbles Chef John calls for. This stuff is beautiful. Read More
(20)
Rating: 3 stars
12/03/2017
My husband is French and he loves to make Cassoulet. However, in his recipe, he uses Pork hocks which he cooks separately, with the bay leaf, garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley and onion and he doesn't use the duck confit. He adds chopped morsels of chorizo and slices smoked sausage into rounds. The Pork hocks are deboned and the meat shredded, and he chops the skin of the hocks into bite size pieces. He adds carrots and celery with the beans and adds all to the meats in one pot on the stove with salt and pepper to taste. No need for the topping listed here in your recipe. It's quite a bit more simple to do it his way and delicious. For me, I like to add more bean liquid or beef and chicken broth and eat it as a delicious bean soup. Read More
(10)
Rating: 4 stars
03/03/2017
Tasty but requires quite some effort. An impressive dish that can be made ahead for a crowd. Read More
(6)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/02/2017
I tried to follow the recipe as written. Any substitutions were as close as my grocery store can come. I did use duck stock and some chicken stock. The broth that was left after the beans cooked was great. I froze the left over broth. I made two medium deep-dish batches of the cassoulet and they look & taste great. Read More
(2)
Rating: 3 stars
10/20/2018
I stuck closely to the recipe and maybe it turned out the way it was supposed to but I didn't care for it. If I fix it again the things I would change would be to crisp up the bacon first remove and drain add veggies for sauteing then add the broken bacon pieces back in (flabby almost cooked bacon is not high on my list). Then I'd skip the panko topping altogether. Then I'd add a bunch of olives as a counterpoint to all the meat. That's enough for now but this dish definitely could use some fiddling with in my opinion. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
01/10/2021
This is so rich and soo good. yes it took some time. I followed this recipe to the t. No substitutions, no short cuts, even my picky daughter loved it. Thank you so much for this recipe Chef John!! Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
08/11/2020
I did substitute lamb shanks for the duck confit as I didn't have that on hand. Beautiful dish. Will make this over and over. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/04/2021
It is time consuming but the steps are simple and the end product is worth it. I admit I didn't find duck confit and substituted kielbasa for the herb sausage so it can't be as good as the real thing. I was also out of carrots so threw in a green pepper and some leftover butternut squash. The end result is creamy, hearty, and delicious! I also reduced the salt to 1/2 tsp total and didn't miss it (there's plenty in the bacon and sausage). Read More
Rating: 5 stars
08/18/2019
Add more beans and pork bits. Read More
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