The July-August issue of Saveurs magazine has an interesting article on the Midi and in particular the village of Castelnaudary, famous for it’s cassoulet recipe and the locally made Not terra cotta “cassoule” it is cooked in.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the cassoule when I made the cassoulet. After reading the article, I reached out to amazon.fr and ordered the large one that serves 8. It did not arrive instantaneously and I was in such a rush to make the recipe because I discovered fresh Coco de Paimpol beans in the market! I thought they weren’t due until August-September! Happy me 🙂 In addition, the weather man predicted cooler weather for that day, so I pulled out my really large Emile Henry tajine and proceeded. The authentic recipe is made with dried local beans and doesn’t contain bay leaf, but who cares? Not me 😀
The recipe called for pork couenne or rind and pork bones. I couldn’t find any the bones or rind in the market, nor did the supermarket butcher have any on hand. Instead I purchased a piece of pork belly from the supermarket butcher and he cut away the bones from a pork rib roast to help me out. Nice guy.
At first I was going to use the can of confit duck that the recipe listed but Jean Louis was in the market and he had bags of both confit duck legs with thighs or just the drumstick portion. He suggested that the drumstick portions would be better for serving individual portions. I agreed.
I can’t remember where I bought the very good Toulouse sausages! This time I bought them at the market but they lacked the flavor that I expect from these sausages. They were okay and looked good after I browned them in the duck fat, but still…..
The weather was cooler but this was a heavy, filling dish and I would never make it again in the summer. M. Parret loved it and I gave him some to take home for another day, but I think it was overkill.
Pascal Kerleu gifted us with several heads of lettuce from his farm and they were beautiful, even though he has lost thousands of heads due to the extremely hot weather.
A mixed salad of Pascal’s greens was lovely and aided in the digestion of our farm laborer meal.
M. Parret was present, so we had cheese but dessert was out of the question. This butterfat rich cheese comes from the Lincet store-factory in Saligny, a few kilometers outside of Sens. The family has a home in town, not far from our house.
In the authentic recipe this cassoulet, once assembled, cooks in the oven for 3-4 hours. Because the beans were fresh and I found the time in the oven ridiculous, I didn’t do that. Do what you want, but if you are going to cook it in the oven for 3-4 hours, use dried beans to avoid having bean paste instead of individual beans.
1 1/2 lb shelled Coco de Paimpol fresh beans
1/2 lb pork belly, skin on, sliced
1/2 -3/4 lb pork bones with a little meat attached
4 carrots, quartered
2 onions, quartered
5 garlic cloves, chopped
3-4 fresh bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
8-10 confit duck drumsticks
8 Toulouse sausages
Put the beans, pork belly, pork bones, carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper in a large stock pot and cover with water about 2 inches above the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours. Drain, reserving the broth separately from the vegetables, beans and meat. Discard the bones.
Degrease the duck by slowly browning it in a large skillet, remove and set aside to drain. Add the sausages to the skillet, brown then set aside to drain.
Assemble the cassoulet by placing half the bean mixture in the bottom of a large tajine. Add a layer of the duck and sausages, then the rest of the beans. Sprinkle with a generous layer of bread crumbs, then place in a 350 F oven for 2 hours.