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Southern French Cuisine's Cassoulet

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French Cuisine's Phenomenal Cassoulet

After having lived here in the south of France for many years, and after having tasted, on many occasion, one of the most well-known French cuisine's from the area, I have been educated on the famous Cassoulet.

      cassoulet-oie-frais       cassoulet-toulouse

There seems to be some sort of parallel link between the origins of Cassoulet and the mystery of the holy trinity.  Let's say that if Cassoulet was the God of Southern French cuisine in the Occitane, then the Father would be from Castelnaudary, Son from Carcassonne, and the Holy Ghost from Toulouse.

Another story says that there are 4, not three, different cassoulets like the four Musketeers, yet another historical reference to this peasant dish: Castelnaudary’s cassoulet boasts the addition of goose and/or duck confit.  Toulouse’s version includes lamb, a thick, fatty local sausage and fresh tomatoes.  Carcassonne’s bean stew goes heavy on the preserved pork cuts and the Corbieres' version is cooked with the pig tail & ears, and in hunting season even a partridge may be added.

Cassoulet-beans
No matter which version you enjoy, it will include the tradtional white lingot bean, bouquet garni, carrots & onions and several cuts of meat plus the fat from the meat, giving you a warming winter stew that is cooked stove top and finished in the oven topped with bread crumbs & drizzled with olive oil.

clay-cassol

 

Traditionally, cassoulet is prepared in a large, deep, clay casserole dish baptized the “cassole,” hence the name cassoulet used in French cuisine, which gives it yet another element of flavor.

 

If you want to attack this typical southern french cuisine at home, you will need to be aware of a few things.  Give yourself at least 2 days as there is overnight soaking of 12 hours, a minimum prep-time of 1 hour and over 3 hours of cook-time. For you own version you can use your favorite combination of cured pork cuts, confit poultries and a few fresh cuts of lamb, fresh fat sausage and don't forget the pork belly.  And remember, the fresh tomatoes are typical only to a Toulousian stew, but gives yet another dimension to French Cuisine's Cassoulet.

cassoulet

Bon Apetit!