The best baked beans in the world! Sorry Boston….Cassoulet

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.

Pork Sholder

Serves 10-12 ppl.

Nage Cassoulet (Currently on menu)

Ingredients

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.

Directions

Browning bacon

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

9. Enjoy!

 

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5 thoughts on “The best baked beans in the world! Sorry Boston….Cassoulet

  1. I once made delicious home-made baked beans. They were absolutely delicious, but sadly it was just Nathan and I eating them, and it made a stock-pot full of baked beans, so we couldn’t finish it at all. This sounds delicious though – thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Last night Kendra cooked for the second time since moving in together. She made apple glazed chicken, and mashed potatoes – they were so fluffy and delicious!

    Can’t wait to read more, Hari!

  2. In such a health crazed world it’s nice to get back to the basics of a good hearty meal… anything with duck has the possibility of being exceptional. Post thought just wondering if this is something that i might be able to check out at nage… keep me posted

  3. I loved the “redneck” cassoulet at your wedding! I’ll definately be making a variation of your recipe for a menu special, but I’m going to replace the pork with rabbit loin. Mmmm, so damn good!

  4. Hari: I just signed onto your blog. First, let me say, generally, that your blog is wonderful: rich, spontaneous, witty, informative.

    This particular edition I couldn’t not respond to, as I’ve been making cassoulet for probably 40 years. I’ve done Julia Child’s (MTAOFC) to the letter, my own quicker variations trying different meats, recipes from other cooks I don’t recall, and most recently, Paula Wolfert’s Toulouse version from The Cooking of Southwest France (in which she offers three cassoulet recipes; any wonder I love her?). I prefer it over any recipe I’ve used–despite, or maybe because of, the massive amounts of fat that go into it.
    Now I’m eager for next winter so I can try this Fritz Blanc-Kevin Reading-Hari Cameron version.
    PS for the folks out there who’ve never been blessed with a cassoulet experience, know that cassoulet is to American baked beans as Paris, France is to Paris, Texas. ( B7 > )

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