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Aug 20, 2008 04:03 PM

Question about Cassoulet

I am making Lisa Garz's recipe from the next food network star anyway it is very soupy is this how it is suppose to be. I have never made a cassoulet before and just thought it would be more like a baked bean dish. Just wondering. It smells fantastic though.

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  1. I'm not familiar with that recipe, but I wouldn't usually describe it as soupy. I've always seen it a little looser than baked beans.

    1. "soupy" would not be a good descriptor for cassoulet. here is a lengthy discussion on the topic with many different recipes.

      1. Cassoulet is a stew. I guess everyone's own taste says whether soupy is good or not. Many stews are thickened (think about your beef stew or chicken stew). This thickening is often because of reduction over time or a thickening agent. You're right that cassoulet is often thicker than a soup. But, that is not as easy in a quick-preparation recipe.

        Lisa Garza's
        recipe includes 2 QUARTS of chicken stock and CANNED beans. That seems like a lot of liquid without much to absorb it up since the canned beans are pretty satiated at that point. Also, she didn't instruct to drain the canned beans first and that may have had some effect. Also, the veggies that could absorb the liquid were actually a miripoix and also not helping absorb the broth. The spinach would not absorb much (but would add good nutrients).

        If I recall, Lisa branded herself wanting to offer FAST (simple), yet delicious "gourmet" recipes and it is difficult to make a cassoulet fast in it's ancient form when it was stewed for hours. With each stirring, the beans absorbed more liquid and possibly were broken (like a pea soup, would thicken). Or, if baked, liquid evaporated over time in the oven.

        Lisa was also offering healthful recipes and maybe she intended it to be more liquid like a soup so it was a lighter meal.

        I hope it tastes as good as everyone raved about. I am looking forward to trying it.

        For your own personal taste, I am sure you can thicken it if you want.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kc girl

          Try stirring a little cornstarch into hot liquid and then adding that to it. (Don't do cornstarch in cold liquid because that is how you get lumps.)

          The authentic cassoulet that I've had is thicker than bean soup.

          1. re: kc girl

            Did you drain the beans?

            Even with draining, 2 qts of stock seems way too much to me. I'd start with just enough liquid to produce that stew/bake-bean consistency, and possibly add more during cooking.

            On that page is a link to a chicken thigh cassoulet. That uses 2 cans, rinsed, and only 3 1/2 c of liquid. As thickener, it uses 1/2 c of the beans, mashed.

            The 45 minute simmer time is also suspect, given that the beans are already cooked.

          2. The last major step in a cassoulet is assembly of the previously prepared (cooking the beans with their accompanyments; browning meats, browning onions; simmering beans and meats and confit d'oie and onions) ingredients in an ovenproof pot and adding a ladle of liquid and cooking in the oven for the last two hours. At that point, juices are reduced and somewhat thickened by starches from the beans, which have not crumbled to mush.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Well I wanted to let all of you know how the Cassaulot turned out. It was amazing it was so delicious. I followed the recipe exactly except I add a big fresh sprig of sage to the herbs. Then it seemed to be way to soupy so I just let lt it cook down for an additional hour and half. It was fantastic. I will keep this recipe to use over and over for years to come. This was the frist time I have ever prepared this type of dish and it was just a great dish for like a winter time dinner party. My family loved it.

              1. re: Analisas mom

                Wonderful!!! Thanks for the after-dinner update.