This meltingly spoon-tender duck and creamy bean casserole is reminiscent of a fine cassoulet, to which it is no doubt related. European Jews wealthy enough to enrich their cholent—the stew that for many was the taste of Sabbath itself—with duck and goose found their lush flesh would remain succulent and tender even after the prolonged cooking from Friday afternoon to midday Saturday. Today, kosher confit d’oie (long-simmered preserved goose) is still sold in Jewish delicatessens in France for creating lavish Alsatian-style cholents.
But the lengthy, gentle braising that renders such incomparably supple meat and enchants the house with a heavenly perfume will also fade the pungent seasonings. They will need some brightening up. So just before serving, I send in a fresh infusion of flavors: brisk minced garlic, rosemary, and snappy lemon zest.
© 2000 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.