Traditional French Cassoulet

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by dinkle, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. dinkle

    dinkle

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    Hi all,

    Would anyone have the traditional recipe for Cassoulet as originated in South of France? Its such a hearty warming autumn/winter dish and I'd love to make some!!

    Many thanks!

    Dee =) 
     
  2. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    There's no one traditional recipe or technique for cassoulet.  Perhaps you didn't mean to say "the traditional recipe."  Check out Paula Wolfert's cassoulet recipes.  Google "Paula Wolfert's cassoulet" and you'll find lots of information, such as this recipe published in Food & Wine from The Cooking of Southwest France: 

    http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/incredible-cassoulet

    http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/toulouse-style-cassoulet

    And here's an interesting discussion on the subject in which Paula Wolfert participates:

    http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?//topic/86707-all-about-cassoulet/
    http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/86707-all-about-cassoulet/page__pid__1201322__st__60
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  3. mgchef

    mgchef

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     Agreed, cassoulets were good dishes for the poor, people used leftovers and it could be stored for a pretty long time. My mom made a pork one about a month ago, it was really good. It's usually leftover meat, some beans, tomatoes, celery, onions, carrots, a bouquet garni, and some other seasonings. You can also fry up some bacon, chop it up and add it in there. There's so many different versions you can make.
     
  4. french fries

    french fries

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    There is no original recipe, the dish evolved throughout the years and depending where you go, the recipes are different. Sure, you have Castelnaudary, Toulouse and Carcassone, but what does that make of Narbonne? Montauban? Pau? Mazères? And many others... all those cities had their own version of the dish. 

    One thing that's widely known is that the original Cassoulet was not made with beans, which were only introduced in France after Cassoulet was invented. Instead, the original Cassoulet was made with fava beans. Then a bunch of whatever meats were leftover.

    But leaving "original" aside, It's going to be extremely difficult to make a typical  cassoulet in the US unless you have access to French meats, or can make your own sausages. Typical cassoulets contain "Saucisson a l'ail" and "Saucisse de Toulouse" which I've never seen here in Los Angeles, not even in French specialty stores. As for chopped up fried bacon, sorry mgchef but that's anything but original or typical of a French cassoulet. Big thick pieces of pork belly cooked in the sauce, now that's more typical.

    Also to note is that cassoulet, like paella, takes its name from the dish it's cooked in, the cassole. It's a flat bottom conical vessel made from clay and varnished, kinda like a tajine bottom but much smaller and deeper.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  5. skatz85

    skatz85

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    my favorite,a chef at my schol made one and its top notch. he was telling me its a certain number ratios of meeats that make it traditional t. pork, duck or other meats. i have the recipe ill post it tom,if u want. definatly good.
     
  6. french fries

    french fries

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    Duck certainly works great in a cassoulet. More typical and even tastier would be goose confit. As for the other meat, it's lamb. But there are many different lamb and pork cuts you can use.
     
  7. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    The recipe I am most familiar with involves duck confit and pork sausages. Pork belly sliced thick as you said above. Some require a breadcrumb top - some don't.  Beans of course.

    It varies as much as a paella - what is available locally tends to be used.  Near the coast - seafood.  Inland - chicken and pork etc.  But the same base - just different proteins, pretty much.
     
  8. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    The cassole is available from http://www.claycoyote.com/index.cfm/Stoneware-Pottery-Cassole-(Cassoulet)/n/fuseaction/product.display/product_id/12/.  They originally made them for Paula Wolfert when she was updating her book, The Cooking of Southwest France.

    Sausages and Tarbais beans, and other French products, are available through www.frenchselections.com.

    www.dartagnan.com has a selection of confits and other ingredients used in cassoulet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  9. mgchef

    mgchef

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    French Fries, I never said it was traditional to add some bacon, I just made a suggestion. In a cassoulet, you usually use leftovers from the week.
     
  10. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks for those links. The first one has Toulouse sausages and "Saucisson a l'ail" which both belong in a typical cassoulet! As I understand it they're made in the US - wondering how close that would be to the "real thing". Seems a bit expensive too... but it makes sense since those are specialty products here.
     
  11. french fries

    french fries

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    Understood. But at least don't chop it up, and don't fry it first. My 2 cents.
     
  12. mgchef

    mgchef

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    Also, look up Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way on youtube. One of the episodes he makes a cassoulet, and he's french so I'm sure he knows what he's doing.
     
  13. french fries

    french fries

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    As long as YOU know what he's doing as well. In fact he tells you what he's doing (hint: it's NOT a traditional cassoulet): 

     
  14. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    French Fries,

    From someone who comes from France,  with the background in  cooking that you have , I agree with your points on the making of cassoulet. You are so right, every region has their own take on the dish.
     
  15. dianna

    dianna

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    I know this is from long ago...but just in case someone happens along this thread....I googled a gazillion recipes on this and made up my own. Heat oil in large pot. Take sausage and brown it, remove from pot. Throw in chunks of pork and brown it (how much meat depends on whether you prefer a higher meat to veg ratio or higher veg to meat ratio) . Remove pork. Throw in a chopped onion and 1 or 2 chopped bell peppers, cook those up. Throw in 4-6 garlic cloves, brown those. (be careful not to burn!) Add potatoes and carrots. Again amount depends on preference. I love more veg and just a bit of meat for flavor. Dump in a few cups of white wine, deglaze. Add a few cups of homemade chix stock. Throw in a can of italian flavored tomatoes or a few toms from the garden. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add 3-4 cans of white beans, heat through. Now for spices, I add them everytime i throw something new in the pot.. just add what looks right, staying on the easy handed end, then when done adjust to liking. Remember to rinse beans well, they are salty. Spices I use are Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and thyme. I imagine basil, rosemary or herbs de provence would all be lovely as well. Serve w crusty bread.