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Oct 31, 2010 09:02 PM

November 2010 Cookbooks of the Month: WOLFERT's World of Food and The Cooking of Southwest France

Welcome to the general discussion thread for the November 2010 Cookbook of the month featuring Paula Wolfert's WORLD OF FOOD and COOKING OF SOUTHWEST FRANCE.

We will use this thread for discussion of equipment, ingredients and any other issues related to this COTM.

If you are new to the Cookbook of the Month, the COTM archive thread explains how this all works:

The Cookbook of The Month is open to anyone who wants to participate. Simply post a full-lenth review of any recipe, selecting the appropriate thread from below:

WOLFERT: Bread, First Course, Starches, Appetizers and Small Plates

WOLFERT: Soups, Stocks and Sauce Bases

WOLFERT: Fish and Shellfish


WOLFERT: Meats, plus Terrines and Cassoulet

WOLFERT: Vegetables

WOLFERT: Desserts

To review discussions from earlier threads, you can take a look at these related threads:
Post-Vote Discussion:
Nomination Discussion:

Finally, the Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Happy cooking!

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    1. I am considering making the Cassoulet and the Daube from The Cooking of SW France, but 10-12 servings is just too much for us. I am thinking about making a half recipe. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to adjust the cooking time? I'd hate to go through these laborious recipes only to find them overcooked. Any advice would be welcome. Thank you.

      5 Replies
      1. re: BigSal

        We always make the cassoulet for a big open house party so we double the recipe. I can tell you that cassoulet freezes really well, so if it is something you love, consider making the whole thing and freezing it in portions. A piece of advice would be to keep careful watch on the beans you cook. We have found in the past that they cook a lot faster than we had expected, and the last thing you want is mushy beans.

        1. re: roxlet

          Another word of warning: Don't plan to do anything much after eating cassoulet.

          We had a gigantic cassoulet meal in France once and could barely make it back to our hotel without falling into a torpor.

          1. re: oakjoan

            Ha, ha! My husband always says that there should be a sign on the door when you eat cassoulet:

            No work today. Cassoulet.

          2. re: roxlet

            Maybe I will make a whole batch and freeze the leftovers. Sounds like this may be a lazy Sunday meal. Thanks you two.

            1. re: BigSal

              It freezes REALLY well. :-) I made a her cassoulet once--right after the book first came out--and chucked about half of it in the freezer. Forgot it. Hubby found it over a YEAR later, and--given how much work and time went into it, and how delicious it had been--convinced me to eat it. Tasted just fine!

        2. Okay, yesterday I took the plunge and got my first-ever duck confit underway, following the traditional method in Cooking of SW France.. Eight thighs, and I needed all of four pounds of duck fat to cover over in my round French/Dutch oven! Duck fat is awesome.

          I'm not sure I'll be able to use any of it this month, so we need to keep an eye out for the quicker recipes in this book, too.

          1. I thought I had The Cooking of South-west France on my shelves, but when I looked for it, i realized it must have been one of the books I lost, so I ordered a used copy from Amazon, and when it arrived, it was the 1988 edition, and it seems quite different from the (newer) edition I had. So I can see why so many people are put off by some of these recipes. But i voted for it, so I'll forge ahead.

            7 Replies
            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              nomadchowwoman, how is it different? Different recipes, or the same recipes with streamlined methods and ingredient lists?
              I didn't vote because I had just commited to 2 baking books for the same period, but I did buy (the '88 edition) so I could "follow along". Several of the recipes are daunting!

              1. re: blue room

                Well, I'm giving an impression as I no longer have the newer version and can't do a side-by-side comparison, and I also hadn't cooked much out of the book though I always meant to. I just do not remember the recipes being so daunting (or so many calling for pig's feet, snails, sweetbreads, etc.). Having said that, I read through the book carefully last night, and while there are many recipes I won't be able to do--I just don't have a good source for duck legs or vats of duck fat; I have to buy whole ducks and get what fat I can from those--there are many that are quite do-able. I'm going to try to make the lamb w/garlic and white beans later this week, and then the chicken in red onion sauce. I'll be sure to report.

                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  I think I must have the old edition and I keep looking at it in the hope there will be something that isn't too complicated and haven't really found anything! I am seriously thinking of purging this book from my collection - something which I hardly ever do!

                  Anyway, I am actually thinking of trying the compote of rabbit with prunes but there is a mistake in the recipe. Basically it doesn't separate out the marinade from the rest of the ingredients. Can someone who has a newer edition please tell me what should be in the marinade? Thanks.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    In my book, 6 ingredients are listed under "Marinade" :
                    wine, onions, carrots, olive oil, shallot, and garlic. Then there's a definite space before the next ingredients.

                      1. re: blue room

                        GG: I also have the old edition but it has the Marinade set out at the beginning of the recipe. There is also an extra space between it and the beginning of the main recipe.

                2. re: nomadchowwoman

                  Don't worry about it. It's the same. They just redesigned the cover art.

                3. My library is being very stingy about renewals and I have to return these two books today. Rather sad to pull all my post-it note markers out before really delving into the books, but I don't love either of them enough to purchase.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: smtucker

                    SMT: the Chow recipe section has many, many recipes from both books, should you get the urge in the future. T've found several that I'm going to try to fit in on week-ends.