Since the fresh beans have been in the market, I’ve been wanting to make a cassoulet of something! Duck always comes up because we eat duck a lot when in France. This time I wanted to give the humble rabbit a chance to shine and it did!
There is a new stall in the market right next to Jean Louis, the duck man. The lady is there every market day and sells fresh herbs and mushrooms. Really nice products. I love her. She has a difficult time with my accent but tries hard not to make a frowny face
The wonderful thing about having access to a well stocked fresh herb stall is that you can make your own bouquet garnis by tying assorted branches of herbs together with string. I was pleased! Made me feel like a country girl For the cassoulet, I chose rosemary, thyme and bay leaf.
The problem with buying a rabbit at the supermarket is that the butchers who package them are deceptive. When you go to the stalls in the market, the rabbits are honestly laid out before you with the head on so that you know that the head comes with and therefore you have to tell them to de-head it before packaging, which they are happy to do. Not so with those supermarket guys! They cleverly hide the head underneath the more attractive pieces of rabbit and no matter how you peer and poke, you’ll not see it, until you get home. I really need to learn! There is always a head in the package! The French want the head! So that’s why, with violent protests from Jade, I cooked the head. Just to see what it’s all about Don’t get upset! I cooked it but M. Parret ate it. He wanted it.
I first cooked the beans with a chunk of smoked pork butt or palette de porc, then tossed in some whole chorizo and a half of a morteau sausage, put everything in a roasting pan, placed the browned rabbit on top to go into the oven, covered, for about an hour. This is when I really miss my tajines and covered casseroles that are stupidly in Stuttgart. My husband is bringing down one of the tajines to leave here when he comes to pick us up and take us back, kicking and screaming, to Germany. Just kidding But not.
This was a very good cassoulet and perfect for the cooler, rainy weather we seem to be getting. Lesson learned, finally: Buy your rabbits in the market and have them de-headed. I cooked it but I don’t find rabbit head attractive or appetizing. Apparently M. Parret does, but he’s French
Cassoulet de Lapin
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 branch each, rosemary, bay leaf, thyme, tied together with a string (bouquet garni)
1 chunk of smoked pork butt
3 cups fresh, shelled Paimpol coco beans
3 slender carrots, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 whole Spanish chorizo
1/2 morteau sausage
One rabbit, de-headed and cut into serving pieces
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup white wine
Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are golden and soft, stir in the bouquet garni, the pork butt and beans. Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Drain the water from the beans, reserving one cup. Mix the beans with the carrots, tomatoes, chorizo and morteau, then place on the bottom of a roasting pan. Set aside.
Season the rabbit with salt and pepper, brown in the olive oil and butter, then place on top of the beans. Pour over the reserved bean water, then the white wine. Cover with a cover or aluminum foil, then place in a 375 F oven for 1 -1 1/2 hours.
Wine suggestion: Cote Chalonnaise