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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I made the Cassoulet recipe from serious eats and it was one of the best things I ever tasted although I have not had the real thing in France.

The only problem with it is that it leaves the cubed salt pork in the dish and supermarket salt pork is very salty so the finished dish is perilously salty. Most recipes using supermarket salt pork remove it at the end of cooking. Is lardon less salty? It seems that lardon is often left in the dish. I have a good Italian market near me and they may have lardon. I believe Juilia Childs would use bacon but heat it in water first to remove smoke flavor?

Also the recipe suggests using duck fat to brown the chicken but the Rougie duck fat I used seemed to turn dark fairly quickly. I also made a roasted chicken with the Rougie duck fat and noticed no difference in taste from butter. When I taste the duck fat directly from the jar its tastes completely neutral to me so perhaps something is wrong with it.

Thanks
 

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Lardon is just cut up pork fat. A shape, not a type of pork product. Salt pork works great in cassoulet. If the final product is too salty for you consider using less salt pork or cutting the lardons smaller next time. Or blanch as Julia recommends. Also monitor the other salt sources to get a more balanced end product. Taste as you go so you know the seasoning level; it’s much better to add some salt at the end because taking it out isn’t likely. This is especially true when the food is reduced by cooking.

Duck fat to brown chicken seems overkill to me. There is enough fat in chicken skin to brown without adding more fat. It doesn’t surprise me that bottled duck fat has no flavor. Like processed lard, the processing takes away most of the good flavor.
 

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THREE TABLESPOONS OF SALT?????
In addition to 8 ounces of salt pork????

That must be a typographical error!!!!!!

Who am I to question the recipe but no wonder it was salty. I didn’t scrutinize the recipe to see how it is incorporated BUT that’s enough salt to give someone a heart attack! Remember, salt is not salt is not salt. That was specified as kosher salt so itwould equate to half that in table salt. And even kosher salt is different. Maybe that amount of Diamond Crystal but probably less in Morton.

What salt did you use and how much?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
No, no additional salt added. I think the 3 tbs salt is for soaking of the beans. I like my dishes salted a bit more than most so I'm not salt averse. I recall tasting the salt pork after I rendered it and the salt was overpowering so its definitely the source.

I searched salt pork and one site recommended soaking or blanching the salt pork before using to reduce salt content as you said.

Also noticed that duck fat has a high smoke point so I'll try another batch.
 

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Thanks for the clarification on the salt. I was aghast when I saw that in the ingredients list.

Blanching might be your best bet. If you inadvertently blanch out too much salt then you can be easily add it back during final seasoning.

Now you make me want to make a cassoulet!
 

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Normally, before cooking with salt pork, you soak it overnight to remove the salt.

Duck fat definitely does not taste the same as butter, there's about the same difference between duck fat and butter that you can taste between butter and oil.
 

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Is pork belly fat a good source for lardons? That's what I usually use, but sometimes I get a chunk of low-salt pork from the local Italian butcher. It isn't smoked, so different from bacon.
Lardons are diced pork belly. Not just the fat, the whole pork belly. You want to have some meat in there. Typically, either smoked or fresh pork belly is used, not salt pork.
 

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Another pork product that works great, and isn't salty in side pork. It's like uncured pork belly strips, cut like bacon. It does have a rind that needs to be removed. Once that's done, simply cut it into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the cassoulet. Side pork is less expensive than salt pork, or pork belly. Boneless pork shoulder, or Boston Butt will work, but is a substantial chunk of meat. Another great cut is country style Pork shoulder ribs. I get them bone in. and cut away the bone. Then dice to desired size. The bones are browned in the oven, or on the stove top, and added to the cassoulet early, the removed just before serving. You get added collagen from the bones.
 
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