An exemplary cassoulet

Cassoulet.

Just the word sounds like an intimidating dish. The food writers who treat it like a holy grail don’t help matters. It’s become almost mythical. But guess what? It’s a bean dish. Flavored with meat. When you get down to it it’s not so terribly different in concept from the soup beans I had growing up.

Cassoulet is named for the cassole, the conical clay dish in which it’s baked. It’s made of white beans simmered with pork and vegetables, then baked with duck confit and sausage. The result is a creamy, extremely hearty winter dish that’s the definition of ‘stick to your ribs.’  While now people will make confit especially for cassoulet, it was initially a dish cooked in order to make use of confit. It’s so interesting how foodies will turn around a dish and go to such lengths to create something that was originally a way to use what people had (myself included!).

Yesterday at Camp Confit at Kitchen-at-Camont we spent making cassoulet. Until I get the recipe down from my notes, here is cassoulet day in pictures and video.

Tarbais beans for cassoulet

Roll and tie pork rind

beans in the pot

Bottom layer of the cassoulet

an exemplary cassoulet

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8 responses to “An exemplary cassoulet

  1. I’ve always been intimidated by this dish, as well. Your pictures take a lot of the mystery away. I look forward to your notes.

  2. Great website, beautiful pics. I made Cassoulet a couple of months ago for the first time. I left out the duck confit. I’m too cheap to buy it, too lazy to make it, and besides, I’m in Northern Michigan. Pheasant confit would be more appropriate. I can’t recall right now what I did to compensate, but I came up with something. Isn’t that the key to country cooking? Perfect process, ingredients at hand? Anyway, it was wonderful. My friends and I ate it for a week.

  3. Wow! That looks delicious!! I haven’t yet attempted a cassoulet, and despite the fact that I haven’t yet made good on my intent to get the winter veggies in the ground (and spring has almost sprung!), I’ll just have to try it anyway….

    Your site is very well organized too.

    Thanks for the inspiration and best wishes,

    Brenda K
    http://fiddlerchick.wordpress.com/

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