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An extremely untraditional cassoulet involving green lentils

I often enjoy dishes made with chickpeas and lentils. But my répertoire is deficient in recipes where these delightful legumes participate.

So this brings me to the cassoulet, or rather “cassoulet,” which I recently made. The only vaguely French ingredients are green lentils (from France, yet not the Flageolet beans of traditional cassoulet), duck confit, bay leaves and red wine. Although in my case the last three items are domestic (from the farmers’ market, our backyard, and a Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley, respectively). Highly bastardized, indeed.

But very tasty.

cassoulet avec lentilles vertes

After numerous searches (cassoulet without beans is rare, but not fictitious), I happened upon a recipe from Food Network Canada, which my version is somewhat based upon. A nice thing about green lentils is that they tend to hold their shape, rather than going to mush, compared with red (skinless) or yellow lentils. Moreover, their cooking time is much shorter than most dried beans; hence only about 2 to 2 1/2 hours of your life pass during the making of this cassoulet, rather than… days. 😉 Not sure how brown or black (beluga) lentils would work; but if you try this with either of those, let me know how it goes!


  • 2 or 3 duck confit legs (3/4 to 1 pound), and about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat from them; they’re often packaged with a generous amount.
  • 3 thick chicken apple sausages, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups green lentils, or lentilles vertes du Puy; the volume is based on a 500g package I had.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried (or 1 teaspoon fresh) thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • salt and pepper, as needed
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups smoked chicken, in large chunks if possible; my local Whole Foods sell a potently smokey bird at their meat counter — enough to substitute for ham or bacon!
  • 1 cup red wine; something light or medium bodied.
  • 1 quart chicken stock


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF degrees.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot (e.g., a dutch oven), melt the duck fat over medium-high heat.
  3. Poke the sausages a few times with a sharp knife. Cook them in the pot until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove them, cut in half or thirds, and set aside in another dish.
  4. Sauté the onion, carrots and bay leaves until the onions become translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add the lentils, thyme and garlic, and stir for 2 minutes, still over medium high heat. Season with pepper and salt — although you might not need much more salt due to the poultry and chicken stock.
  6. Place the duck legs, chicken chunks and sausages on top of the lentil-vegetable mixture. Pour in any liquid from the sausage dish, followed by the red wine and chicken stock.
  7. Bring to a boil on the stovetop. Skim off any scum or large fat droplets. Then transfer the pot, covered, to the oven.
  8. Cook in the oven at 425ºF for the first 10 minutes, then lower to 350ºF degrees to continue for another 80 to 90 minutes. You want to ensure that the lentils have absorbed most of the liquid — it’s okay if there’s a little juice at the bottom — and that the flavors of the various bird meats have melded with the vegetable members of the cast.
  9. Serve with something light and green (Brussels sprouts, woohoo!), and red wine. Probably enough to serve 4 people very generously. Excellent as a leftover, although I’ve only refrigerated it — not sure how lentils and poultry would survive freezing.

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