Cassoulet Cravings

img_0003.jpg

As far as I can tell, everyone in the south west of France is making cassoulet right about now, and I’m no exception.  With our friends from California and our son from Portland, we made another expedition to visit the champion de saucisson to see what he recommended for a local version of cassoulet.  The result was a real surprise, and one of the best cassoulets I’ve ever eaten.

For one amazing thing, it contained no confit.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a cassoulet without confit, either confit of duck, pork, or both.  But in this case I asked Monsieur Soulier for the makings for a cassoulet for 5 people, and he cut me a pile of fresh pork belly, several rolls of creamy pork skin, a length of fresh garlic sausage, and two fat duck breasts.

We’d intended to make the cassoulet with fresh haricots coco but they’d disappeared from the markets as suddenly as they’d arrived.  Thus we ended up using several jars of Spanish white beans, already cooked.  Contrary to all our expectations, these beans didn’t fall apart even after being cooked all day, and were quite satisfactory.

Another big surprise came from following Madame Soulier’s recommendation to use tomato purée instead of stock as the liquid.  The slight tanginess of the tomato worked marvelously with the melting textures of the pork belly, and offset the goose fat used to brown the meat and the richness of the duck.  We added a huge handful of chopped garlic to complement the garlic sausage, and a pile of thyme leaves.  For the breadcrumb topping I used my freezer stash of a mixture of at least 7 different kinds of bread, then we popped the dish in the oven about 8:00 in the morning, went about our day, and twelve hours later sat down to an exceptionally delicious dinner.

Our friends left us to return to California this morning, and although I tried to convince them to take some cassoulet leftovers on the plane, they were afraid that the Air France flight crew wouldn’t be able to resist confiscating it for their own use, so we’ll be eating it again tonight.  Only eleven hours until dinner!

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: At Home In France, Posts Containing Recipes

2 Comments on “Cassoulet Cravings”

  1. klary Says:

    Abra.. that looks gorgeous. Save me some!

  2. Eden Says:

    Tomato is one of the ingredients in my cassoulet too – I think it makes the whole cassoulet even richer tasting…
    but no confit???? heresy :->


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: