Leila & Tito’s Recipe For: Turkey Cassoulet (Thanksgiving Series 2016, pt. 6)

The Autumn Table 2016

Thanksgiving Series (pt.6)


Leila Schardt & Italo Marino

Private Chefs (formerly of Monza and Closed for Business)

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What Leila loves about cooking:

“Seeing the smile on peoples faces when they eat my food.”

What Tito loves about cooking:

“The time that goes in to it. Its something that you can enjoy each step of the process and in the end it all comes together and makes something great.”

What Leila enjoys most about Thanksgiving:

“It brings people together that aren’t necessarily family. And I love cooking all day long, its more fun than just sitting and eating.”

What Tito enjoys most about Thanksgiving:

“I’m from a big Italian family and its the BIGGEST HOLIDAY of the year. You get to whoevers house dinner is at and there will be between 100-200 people, its great everyone comes together and it may be the only time of the year that everyone gets together. Its a big deal.”

Turkey Cassoulet

Serves 8-10 people

For the beans
1 lb dried white beans
3 ea bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 tbsp. Salt

For the breadcrumbs
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

For the Cassoulet
4 lbs Turkey legs
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 lb bacon, 1/4 inch sliced lardons
1 large onion, small dice
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, small dice
1/2 bu sage, finely chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups white wine
8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb smoked spicy sausage links
1 small butternut squash, small dice
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Method of Preparation
For the beans
1. The day before preparation place the white beans in a medium sized pan or bowl. Fill the container with water, making sure the beans are fully submerged. Place in refrigerator and allow to soak over night.
2. The next day rinse the beans under cold water and place them in a medium sized pot. Add the bay leaves, thyme and salt. Fill the pot with water until the beans are submerged by 2 inches.
3. Place the pot on medium high heat and bring up to a simmer. Once the beans are simmering cook them until they are tender. Strain them through a colander, place the beans in a bowl and allow them to cool in the refrigerator.

For the breadcrumbs
1. In a sauté pan combine all of the above ingredients. Toast the breadcrumbs until golden brown.

For the cassoulet
1. Bring the turkey legs to room temperature, dry them off and season with salt and pepper. Place a large pot on high heat, add olive oil and place the turkey legs in the pot. Sear the legs until golden brown on all sides. Remove from pot and place aside. Take all of the sausage links and sear until golden brown. Place them aside as well, separate from the turkey.
2. In the same pot that the turkey and the sausage was cooked in render the bacon until crispy. Add the onions and sweat until tender. Add the garlic, carrots, sage, thyme and cayenne pepper. Once these are cooked deglaze the pot with white wine. Reduce the white wine until almost dry. Add the broth and place the turkey legs back in the pan. Bring the broth up to a low simmer and allow the turkey to cook until fork tender.
3. Once the turkey is tender remove it from the pot, allow to cool a bit and pull the meat away from the bone. Cut the sausage into 1/2inch slices. Add the turkey, sausage, butternut squash and white beans to the braising liquid. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Pour the mixture into a casserole pan and finish by distributing the toasted breadcrumbs evenly over the cassoulet.

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