HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What's your latest food project? Tell us about it
TELL US

Its Cassoulet weather!

Yank Feb 17, 2012 05:44 AM

This time of year I get a yearning for Cassoulet. So I made one this week. There were 12 of us from our wine tasting group.
We tasted Fronton which is made not a million miles from where we live. It turned out to be a nicer wine than I had previously thought and was perfect with the cassoulet.

I was surprised that there wasn't a Cassoulet recipe on Chowhound.

I've added my recipe for all those interested.

Or, I've done a full pictorial version on my blog (www.frenchfoodfocus.com.

)

It's easier to make than you might think.

  1. roxlet Feb 17, 2012 06:36 AM

    We make it every New Year's Day from Paula Wolfert's fabulous recipe. However, since then, here in the northeast, we're more likely to barbecue than make cassoulet given the warm weather this year.

    2 Replies
    1. re: roxlet
      Tom P Feb 17, 2012 10:30 AM

      I made the Paula Wolfert cassoulet in December. Spent a few days doing it slow. It was wonderful!

      1. re: Tom P
        maria lorraine Jan 16, 2013 02:18 AM

        Yank,

        Have no idea why you haven't found the many long, detailed threads on cassoulet on Chowhound, with loads of info on recipes and links to recipes.

        Links to Paula Wolfert's recipe, to Anthony Bourdain's from Les Halles, Bittman's from the NY Times, David Rosengarten's, and on and on.

        Here are a few of my favorite threads:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/468106
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/482415
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/282590

        And here is Melanie Wong's report of her cassoulet
        tour in France, with photos:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2680...

        Remember, when you search, to search for all years. Cassoulet is legendary enough to have been talked about for years on Chowhound.

    2. Pedr0 Feb 17, 2012 07:23 AM

      Been more like raclette and fondue weather in France lately. Very odd seeing snow in Paris last week. That's a nice looking cassoulet btw.

      Here's one I made recently.

       
      5 Replies
      1. re: Pedr0
        d
        DeppityDawg Feb 20, 2012 10:19 AM

        Just wondering… what's the difference between raclette/fondue weather and cassoulet weather?

        1. re: DeppityDawg
          sunshine842 Feb 20, 2012 10:24 AM

          the altitude? Raclette in the mountains; cassoulet lower down?

          :D

          1. re: sunshine842
            Yank Feb 20, 2012 10:33 AM

            Possibly. How about Raclette in the East & Cassoulet in the West?

            When Its cold & so am I I'm not fussy about which I eat. I choose Cassoulet because that's what we make around where I live.

            1. re: sunshine842
              Pedr0 Feb 20, 2012 10:36 AM

              Precisely. It's just been insanely cold and snowy for Paris this winter. Has felt much more like the Alpes than Île-de-France.

              1. re: Pedr0
                sunshine842 Feb 20, 2012 10:43 AM

                Until the first of February, I thought we were going to get off easy...last week wasn't too bad, and now it''s frosty again.

                It's that primeval Meat...Beans...Cheese...urge

        2. a
          annabanana2000 Feb 18, 2012 12:32 AM

          My husband and I were just talking about cassoulet today. I was just bemoaning my lack of incentive to make cassoulet because we have had such a beautiful, mild winter here in Calgary, Alberta. I think your post is a sign to make it anyways. I make Anthony Bourdain's recipe from his Les Halles cookbook.

          12 Replies
          1. re: annabanana2000
            Yank Feb 18, 2012 01:11 AM

            Not being egotistical or any thing, but I'd encourage you to try my recipe.

            Paula Wolfert's recipe is very good, but overly complicated. The others aren't really quite authentic. They're not the way Cassoulet is & was made at home locally.

            The pictorial version on my blog is easy to follow & tastes great.

            In fact we're having Cassoulet again tomorrow as I always make two. The smaller on pops into the freezer.

            Try mine & let me know

            1. re: Yank
              sunshine842 Feb 18, 2012 01:20 AM

              here's the **official** recipe from the Confrérie du Castelnaudary, the organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional Cassoulet:

              http://www.confrerieducassoulet.com/l...

              Use Google Translate if your French is rusty.

              1. re: sunshine842
                Yank Feb 18, 2012 09:17 AM

                As I think I said in the preface to my recipe you can start a fight by asking 3 French people for the 'best' Cassoulet recipe.
                The recipe you linked to is that of the organization of the town of Castelnaudary. They like to claim to be the true home of Cassoulet, but there are a lot of other towns in SW France who dispute that. Who knows?

                Their recipe & mine are very similar except for two things:

                - They put couenne in. (This is pork skin) I do as well, but didn't put it into the written recipe as knowing its there puts off a lot of my American friends. Its there to act as a thickener.

                - The big difference is that I put lamb into my Cassoulet. The addition of lamb as best I can tell is more typical of Cassoulet made North of Toulouse. Along with the lamb comes some onion & tomato puree plus a bit of bay.

                Looking at their recipe it is my opinion that it would come out a bit on the bland side. However, you pays your money & takes your choice.

            2. re: annabanana2000
              h
              hyde Feb 18, 2012 07:08 AM

              same here in boston, there was no cassoulet weather this winter.

              but when i do its from julia child & company, knopf, 1978.

              1. re: annabanana2000
                p
                Puffin3 Jan 16, 2013 07:31 AM

                So do I. What type of white beans do you use? Real Tarbais beans? (I grew up near Cochrane and remember those amazing 'Chinook arches' that would come over the farm). The first time I made it from AB's book, do to a slight tendency towards 'obsessive-compulsive' behavior I HAD TO HAVE THE 'TARBAIS' BEANS! or I couldn't make the dish.
                Of course I never did use real Tarbais beans, Plain old canellini beans had to do.

                1. re: Puffin3
                  sunshine842 Jan 16, 2013 08:25 AM

                  even in France, it's a splurge to have real Tarbais beans -- they're not even cheap here -- they're the equivalent of about $4/pound -- €7,50/kg or more. I'm not sure I want to know what y'all pay for them back home...

                  Most folks here use plain old white beans, too.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    t
                    thimes Jan 16, 2013 09:45 AM

                    I think they were around $18-20/lb at Whole Foods last time I looked.

                    1. re: thimes
                      sunshine842 Jan 16, 2013 10:13 AM

                      ouch.

                    2. re: sunshine842
                      p
                      Puffin3 Jan 16, 2013 10:53 AM

                      Where in France do you live? I used to live there.

                      1. re: Puffin3
                        sunshine842 Jan 16, 2013 11:52 AM

                        just outside Paris

                        1. re: sunshine842
                          p
                          Puffin3 Jan 16, 2013 12:35 PM

                          I used to live a couple of miles west of Antibes. Golfe Juan.
                          How do you find the food up there? Have you read Zola's The Belly of Paris?

                          1. re: Puffin3
                            sunshine842 Jan 16, 2013 01:33 PM

                            haven't read it, but loving being able to shop and cook and eat here. There's so much amazing food here -- and we still enjoy traveling all over France (it just doesn't take as long!)

                2. t
                  thimes Feb 18, 2012 05:04 AM

                  aaahhh - I made cassoulet just last night for a neighborhood get together. I should have taken a picture. It was so yummy. not 100% traditional but one of my favorite dishes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: thimes
                    sunshine842 Feb 18, 2012 06:10 AM

                    Yep, all this talk of cassoulet -- it's not Arctic and frosty here any more, but it's still chilly and damp and grey and well-suited to things that warm your bones.

                    My cassole has come down from its perch on top of my cabinets, the lingots have been excavated from the pantry -- tomorrow it's cassoulet.

                  2. e
                    escondido123 Feb 18, 2012 08:30 AM

                    Last night we made an easy variation on the idea of cassoulet using lamb. Canned white beans, garlic, olive oil, a little gin, some chicken stock and rosemary. Topped with chunks of raw lamb leg and roasted it covered, then uncovered until done. Then topped with a thick layer of fresh bread crumbs that had been processed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Finished on high heat, broiling at the end to get the crumbs good and crunchy. My favorite part was the bottom layer of the crumbs that had soaked up the liquid and gotten soft and almost creamy. Not a true cassoulet, but certainly tasted good on a cool winter evening..

                    1. m
                      megjp Feb 18, 2012 10:45 AM

                      Hot damn, it's supposed to go below freezing this weekend with a chilly wind! Imagine.. maybe I'll hop aboard the cassoulet train tomorrow or Monday (yay, err, Family Day!).

                      Thanks for posting your recipe, too, Yank :)

                      1. m
                        masha Feb 20, 2012 08:40 AM

                        Very interesting. But your ingredient list at the top doesn't match with the instructions. There's an extra tube of tomato concentrate, juniper berries, thyme, and Herbes de provence that are unaccounted for. When are they used?

                        1. caseyjo Feb 20, 2012 10:31 AM

                          It's pretty warm for Februrary in Chicago, but I've been itching to make one. Just need to buy a few ducks and render enough fat for the confit. The confit has always been the barrier to entry (although I've made it before, it's certainly not quick). I'm definitely not paying $16 for one leg, though, when a couple ducks cost ~$25.

                          Thanks for the link to your recipe; I intended to reference Julia Child, Anthony Bourdain, and Je Sais Cuisiner when making mine. Your's is a great resource as well!

                          1. pagesinthesun Jan 15, 2013 04:20 PM

                            I'm receiving Cassoulet beans in my bean club from Rancho Gordo this week. So excited!! I've never made a cassoulet, so I thought I'd resurrect this thread from last year to get some of your favorite recipes for cassoulet.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: pagesinthesun
                              Sarah Jan 15, 2013 05:15 PM

                              I had great luck with Mark Bittman's easy peazy slow cooker version - not "authentic," but super simple.
                              http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/29/din...

                              1. re: Sarah
                                pagesinthesun Jan 15, 2013 07:36 PM

                                Thanks for the recipe. I'll give this one a try!

                              2. re: pagesinthesun
                                Terrie H. Jan 15, 2013 05:33 PM

                                There is a "bean club???" Do tell!

                                1. re: Terrie H.
                                  pagesinthesun Jan 15, 2013 07:32 PM

                                  Check out ranchogordo.com I've been buying beans from them for a little over a year. They are fabulous! I would have never believed it until I bought a bag of grocery store pintos that never softened, no matter how long I cooked them. So, I went for the heirlooms that I had been hearing so much about. I'll never buy any other bean again. The variety is wonderful. This will be my first bean club shipment. It's quarterly and we get the cream of the crops.

                              3. j
                                jordanhamons Jan 15, 2013 08:18 PM

                                I spent last winter living in the heart of cassoulet country, Toulouse. My favorite cassoulet was at a restaurant near my school called "Mon Canard." I am really missing France right now! Thanks for posting your recipe.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jordanhamons
                                  sunshine842 Jan 16, 2013 12:11 AM

                                  *making* cassoulet isn't hard...sadly, unless you're in France, it's also not cheap.... ;/

                                Show Hidden Posts