The best cassoulet
recipe I've ever seen and used is Pellaprat's for "Cassoulet of Goose Toulousaine." (See, p. 695 of the 1994 Vendome edition.) Although it's quite a good recipe, I have mixed feelings about recommending it. There are better uses for the time, money and actual ingredients. Traditionally the dish was made with leftovers and scraps over a combination of a dying fire and residual heat. It's more wienies and beans than chili. Actually, I prefer wienies and beans to cassoulet. Chili too -- although I don't understand why you'd associate chili with beans. Who would put beans in chili?
Speaking of dying fires, pot au feu
is also an awful lot of trouble for a bowl of soup and a little bit of boiled meat. Michel Guerard has a few good variations in Cuisine Gourmande, and there's a really good modern recipe by Guy Martin. I googled both of these to see if I could link you up to one of them, especially hoping for an English translation of the Martin recipe, and ran across a wonderful article about pot au feu
. In addition to the history and social significance of the dish, it includes a very good recipe and detailed description of the technique. Pot au feu
is ALL very simple, very tedious, repetitious technique and time. Nothing else too it really, as you'll see. Worth it? Try it and let me know. à la carte
One last thought: If you're interested in cuisine bourgeois
, see if you can't dig up some used cookbooks by Madeleine Kamman. She's fantastic on the subject.