Wine Wednesdays – Brooks 2012 Pinot Noir + “Cheater Cassoulet”

I was browsing my recent issue of Food & Wine and came across this recipe for duck confit and white bean stew.  Perfect for a cold Sunday night Oscar viewing party, I was inspired!  My friend Sarah volunteered to bring the wine and on the suggestion of Food & Wine (to keep with the theme) she brought over a Willamette Valley 2012 Pinot Noir from Brooks Winery.

Literally bursting with red fruit!  Strawberries, cherries, raspberries oh my!  A hint of earthiness, structured acidity, it stood up perfectly to the rich duck stew.  It wasn’t overly ripe or green, a perfect balance and a nice smooth finish, very easy to drink!

“Cheater Cassoulet” Duck Confit and White Bean Stew
Slightly adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 6

6 cups chicken broth
2 15oz cans cannellini beans
4 confit duck legs
6 large shallots
5 multi-colored carrots
2 cloves garlic
3-4 thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (I used a mix of rosemary, oregano, and dried thyme)
1 small head of radicchio sliced into thin strips

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, place the duck legs, skin side down.  Cook until skin is crispy and heated through, approx. 15 minutes flipping half-way through.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to cool and drain.  Once cool, shred meat and put aside.

Drain skillet and return to heat.  Add sliced carrots, shallots, garlic, thyme sprigs, and herbes de Provence.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until carrots are softened and shallots are caramelized, approx. 20 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and stir, scraping up any browned bits.  Remove thyme sprigs.

Add beans and chicken broth to a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add carrot/shallot mixture and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.  Add pulled duck meat and continue to simmer.  Add radicchio and stir to combine just before serving.

My secret weapon and kitchen “cheat” – precooked duck confit in a can!  I have yet to find this in the US, but I make it a point to bring a few tins back with me whenever I visit France.  
Don’t turn too quickly to ensure skin gets nice and crispy!
Sarah spoiled us with dessert, so simple yet so delicious, coconut ice cream with fresh berries!  A perfect Sunday indeed.
Wine:  2012 Brooks Pinot Noir
Purchased:  La Vid Wine Shop NYC
Price:  $22 retail
Would Buy Again:  Yes
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