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Dried Beans and Meat - (Cassoulet Toulousain)

3 cups dried white beans -- soaked overnight
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound polish or garlic sausage
1/2 pound lean salt pork -- diced
4 tablespoons chicken fat or lard
2 pounds lamb shoulder or breast -- cut for stew
2 large onions -- chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves -- crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs

Drain beans and place in kettle or large saucepan. Cover with water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, thyme, bay leaf, and sausage. Bring to boil, and simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside. Continue simmering for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook salt pork in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. In large saucepan, heat chicken fat. Add lamb. Add remaining salt and cook until slightly browned on all sides. Pour off excess fat. Add onions and cook until onions are well browned. Cover with water. Add tomato paste, garlic, pepper, and boiled salt pork. Correct seasoning. Bring to boil, and simmer gently.

Drain beans and add to pan. Return sausage to pan. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until meat and beans are tender. Rub the inside of a very large ovenproof dish with a clove of garlic. Remove lamb and sausage from pan and turn contents of pan into ovenproof dish. Cut sausage into slices approximately 1/2-inch thick. Arrange lamb and sausage on top of beans. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Dot with butter. Broil under broiling flame for 5 minutes, or until well browned. Serve hot.

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