People ask me what my favorite food is and I never have an answer for them. There are so many foods that I love depending on the time of the year, my mood, and company that I’m with. But during the chilly nights of winter, cassoulet is one my favorite dishes. It is a meat lovers paradise. Who am I kidding? I could eat cassoulet any time of the year. It’s the kind of food that makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, the best kind of comfort food. At my wedding I even served a lighter picnic version that I called redneck cassoulet, a super meaty version of BBQ baked beans.
Cassoulet is a rich bean stew with goose, duck, lamb, pork sausage, bacon, and pork shoulder that comes from the south of france. The word cassoulet comes from the earthenware casserole dish which it was traditionally made in. There is a lot of debate over what the true cassoulet recipe is. It is like so many other recipes there is a different recipe for every kitchen in every town. A classic recipe that I sometimes look to and really enjoy can be found in Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook.
One of the first winters that I started at Nage, Kevin Reading opened my eyes to many great recipes and cassoulet was one of them. An Acclaimed chef Fritz Blank of now closed Deux Cheminees taught him the recipe. Every winter I cook a version of this great dish. Some years it makes the menu, others it doesn’t. Either way it always gets made, and enjoyed.
Serves 10-12 ppl.
Nage Cassoulet (Currently on menu)
4 carrots medium dice
3 onions medium dice
5 stalks celery medium dice
2 bulbs fennel medium dice
1 sachet filled with 1 bunch thyme, 1 bunch parsley stems, 3 cloves, 10 peppercorns, 3 fresh bay leaves,10 cloves crushed garlic
10 ounce applewood bacon lardon
1 pound pork shoulder
1 pound french pork sausage
4 sticks dry spanish chorizo small dice
cup duck fat
6 legs duck confit de-boned
2 pounds white beans
1 plum tomato
2 Tbl. Dijon mustard
2 Tbl. Tomato paste
2 cups red wine
Salt and Pepper
10 Shakes Tabasco
1/2 cup Bread crumbs
1 tsp. chopped garlic
2 quarts veal stock
2 tsp. chopped thyme
2 tsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbl. red wine vin.
1. Cover beans with 4 inches of water and soak over night.
2. Brown in stages first bacon, then pork shoulder, and then pork sausage.
3. Take out Meat then add duck fat, carrots, onions, celery, fennel and cook 12-15 min. on low until it is translucent. return meat to pot.
4. Stir in mustard, tomato paste, and red wine. Cook for 5 min. more.
5. Drain beans and add to pot with sachet, plum tomato, duck confit, veal stock(all but 2 cups), and chorizo. Simmer covered on low for 1 to 1 1/2 hour until beans are slightly tender.
6. Stir in chopped parsley, thyme (reserve some for bread crumb topping), salt, pepper, Tabasco, red wine vin.
7. Saute chopped garlic, bread crumbs, chopped parsley and thyme
8. Add remaining stock. top with bread crumb mixture bake at 250* for 1 1/2 hour Let cool before serving