I keep hearing about Thanksgiving plans and I’m always surprised that this New World holiday always lacks beans, the most New World of ingredients. I think part of this is because Thanksgiving is a nostalgic meal and most cooks want it just like mom’s. I would hope more innovative cooks realize it’s a great time to celebrate the Americas along with family and football. All this reminded me of this post from 2007 and I would love you to consider some variation for your table! – Steve
I mentioned making this in the Rancho Gordo newsletter but I thought it should also make an appearance here. I love flageolet beans a lot and often have to justify them to Francophiles who insist that a cassoulet must be made with Tarbais beans. Those folks will be happy we now grow Cassoulet beans, which would also be great for this dish. My LaRousse Gastronomique just calls for dry white beans while others call for Haricot de Castelnaudery specifically. What to do? Maybe relax a little, I’d say! I’d worry more about the correct sausages or good duck confit.
After reading several recipes, I experimented and took the confit I had from The Fatted Calf and put the skin on the bottom of my clay gratin. I then added a layer of cooked Flageolet (but Cassoulet or Alubia Blanca would also work), followed by the shredded meat of the confit, then another layer of beans and the whole mess is topped off with bread crumbs. This went into the oven at 350F for about 45 minutes and developed a nice crust.
I would never pass this off as authentic or even French but readers, it was out of this world! I can’t wait to experiment more with this bean gratin idea. It would make an ideal side dish or work on its own with a salad. Jill Nussinow, author of The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment likes sun-dried tomatoes and thyme with her flageolet. You could easily skip the duck and try Jill’s version instead, just try it with bread crumbs and then report back.