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We were so pleased to welcome Amphora friends to the Blending Experience on Saturday, March 22, 2014.  In addition to tasting our five Bordeaux varietals and then bottling their own wine, guests enjoyed a delicous lunch of Cassoulet.   We had so many requests for the recipe that we decided to post it.  Please find our version of this ultimate one pot meal:  (we substituted chicken for duck then sauteed the chicken in duck fat.)  We served the meal with our 2008 Sarah (which turned out to be a wonderful traditional pairing ) and crusty French bread from Costeaux Bakery.

Amphora Cassoulet  revised from Saveur Jan 5, 2009

1 lb. dried great northern beans
10 tbsp. duck fat or olive oil
16 cloves garlic, smashed
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 large ham hocks
1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1"cubes
1⁄2 lb. pancetta, cubed
4 sprigs oregano
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
1 cup whole peeled canned tomatoes
1 cup Amphora Chardonnay 
2 cups chicken broth
4 confit duck legs (optional)  or use chicken legs and thighs)
1 lb. pork sausages
2 cups bread crumbs

1. Place beans in a pot and cover with 3 inches of water.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 3 minutes.  Cover the bean and rest them in the boiling water for 1.5 hours, drain and use in the recipe.  Heat 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add half the garlic, onions, and carrots and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add ham hocks along with beans and their water and boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans until tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours.

2. Transfer ham hocks to a plate; let cool. Pull off meat; discard skin, bone, and gristle. Chop meat; add to beans. Set aside.

3. Heat 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown for 8 minutes. Add pancetta; cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic, onions, and carrots; cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with twine; add to pan with tomatoes; cook until liquid thickens, 8–10 minutes. Add wine; reduce by half. Add broth; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, until liquid has thickened, about 1 hour. Discard herbs; set dutch oven aside.

4. Meanwhile, sear chicken or duck legs in 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat for 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Brown sausages in the fat, about 8 minutes. Cut sausages into 1⁄2" slices. Pull duck meat off bones. Discard fat and bones. Stir duck and sausages into pork stew.

5. Heat oven to 300˚. Mix beans and pork stew in a 4-qt. earthenware casserole. Cover with bread crumbs; drizzle with remaining duck fat. Bake, uncovered, for 3 hours. Raise oven temperature to 500˚; cook cassoulet until crust is golden, about 5 minutes.

SERVES 6 – 8