or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Traditional French Cassoulet
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Traditional French Cassoulet

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Would anyone have the traditional recipe for Cassoulet as originated in South of France? Its such a hearty warming autumn/winter dish and I'd love to make some!!

Many thanks!

Dee =) 
post #2 of 15
There's no one traditional recipe or technique for cassoulet.  Perhaps you didn't mean to say "the traditional recipe."  Check out Paula Wolfert's cassoulet recipes.  Google "Paula Wolfert's cassoulet" and you'll find lots of information, such as this recipe published in Food & Wine from The Cooking of Southwest France: 

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/incredible-cassoulet

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/toulouse-style-cassoulet

And here's an interesting discussion on the subject in which Paula Wolfert participates:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?//topic/86707-all-about-cassoulet/
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/86707-all-about-cassoulet/page__pid__1201322__st__60
Edited by Schmoozer - 3/31/10 at 7:02am
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #3 of 15
 Agreed, cassoulets were good dishes for the poor, people used leftovers and it could be stored for a pretty long time. My mom made a pork one about a month ago, it was really good. It's usually leftover meat, some beans, tomatoes, celery, onions, carrots, a bouquet garni, and some other seasonings. You can also fry up some bacon, chop it up and add it in there. There's so many different versions you can make.
post #4 of 15
There is no original recipe, the dish evolved throughout the years and depending where you go, the recipes are different. Sure, you have Castelnaudary, Toulouse and Carcassone, but what does that make of Narbonne? Montauban? Pau? Mazères? And many others... all those cities had their own version of the dish. 

One thing that's widely known is that the original Cassoulet was not made with beans, which were only introduced in France after Cassoulet was invented. Instead, the original Cassoulet was made with fava beans. Then a bunch of whatever meats were leftover.

But leaving "original" aside, It's going to be extremely difficult to make a typical  cassoulet in the US unless you have access to French meats, or can make your own sausages. Typical cassoulets contain "Saucisson a l'ail" and "Saucisse de Toulouse" which I've never seen here in Los Angeles, not even in French specialty stores. As for chopped up fried bacon, sorry mgchef but that's anything but original or typical of a French cassoulet. Big thick pieces of pork belly cooked in the sauce, now that's more typical.

Also to note is that cassoulet, like paella, takes its name from the dish it's cooked in, the cassole. It's a flat bottom conical vessel made from clay and varnished, kinda like a tajine bottom but much smaller and deeper.
Edited by French Fries - 3/31/10 at 9:13pm
post #5 of 15
my favorite,a chef at my schol made one and its top notch. he was telling me its a certain number ratios of meeats that make it traditional t. pork, duck or other meats. i have the recipe ill post it tom,if u want. definatly good.
Chef it up errrrday!!!
Reply
Chef it up errrrday!!!
Reply
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by skatz85 View Post

my favorite,a chef at my schol made one and its top notch. he was telling me its a certain number ratios of meeats that make it traditional t. pork, duck or other meats. i have the recipe ill post it tom,if u want. definatly good.
Duck certainly works great in a cassoulet. More typical and even tastier would be goose confit. As for the other meat, it's lamb. But there are many different lamb and pork cuts you can use.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

Quote:

Duck certainly works great in a cassoulet. More typical and even tastier would be goose confit. As for the other meat, it's lamb. But there are many different lamb and pork cuts you can use.


 

The recipe I am most familiar with involves duck confit and pork sausages. Pork belly sliced thick as you said above. Some require a breadcrumb top - some don't.  Beans of course.

It varies as much as a paella - what is available locally tends to be used.  Near the coast - seafood.  Inland - chicken and pork etc.  But the same base - just different proteins, pretty much.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

But leaving "original" aside, It's going to be extremely difficult to make a typical  cassoulet in the US unless you have access to French meats, or can make your own sausages. Typical cassoulets contain "Saucisson a l'ail" and "Saucisse de Toulouse" which I've never seen here in Los Angeles, not even in French specialty stores. As for chopped up fried bacon, sorry mgchef but that's anything but original or typical of a French cassoulet. Big thick pieces of pork belly cooked in the sauce, now that's more typical.

Also to note is that cassoulet, like paella, takes its name from the dish it's cooked in, the cassole. It's a flat bottom conical vessel made from clay and varnished, kinda like a tajine bottom but much smaller and deeper.

 

The cassole is available from http://www.claycoyote.com/index.cfm/Stoneware-Pottery-Cassole-(Cassoulet)/n/fuseaction/product.display/product_id/12/.  They originally made them for Paula Wolfert when she was updating her book, The Cooking of Southwest France.

Sausages and Tarbais beans, and other French products, are available through www.frenchselections.com.

www.dartagnan.com has a selection of confits and other ingredients used in cassoulet.
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #9 of 15
French Fries, I never said it was traditional to add some bacon, I just made a suggestion. In a cassoulet, you usually use leftovers from the week.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmoozer View Post

Sausages and Tarbais beans, and other French products, are available through www.frenchselections.com.

www.dartagnan.com has a selection of confits and other ingredients used in cassoulet.

Thanks for those links. The first one has Toulouse sausages and "Saucisson a l'ail" which both belong in a typical cassoulet! As I understand it they're made in the US - wondering how close that would be to the "real thing". Seems a bit expensive too... but it makes sense since those are specialty products here.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgchef View Post

French Fries, I never said it was traditional to add some bacon, I just made a suggestion. In a cassoulet, you usually use leftovers from the week.

Understood. But at least don't chop it up, and don't fry it first. My 2 cents.
post #12 of 15
Also, look up Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way on youtube. One of the episodes he makes a cassoulet, and he's french so I'm sure he knows what he's doing.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgchef View Post

Also, look up Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way on youtube. One of the episodes he makes a cassoulet, and he's french so I'm sure he knows what he's doing.
As long as YOU know what he's doing as well. In fact he tells you what he's doing (hint: it's NOT a traditional cassoulet): 

Quote:
"The famous cassoulet of southwest France features white beans, roast pork, sausage, and duck or goose. Assembled in a cast-iron or earthenware casserole, it is usually covered with bread crumbs and takes hours--sometimes days--to prepare."

"In my version, I use ham, canned cannellini beans, and Italian and bratwurst sausages and serve the stew on a large platter, home style. Even considering the time required to remove the plastic covering and the tough outside skin from the ham, it doesn't take more than 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish."
post #14 of 15
French Fries,

From someone who comes from France,  with the background in  cooking that you have , I agree with your points on the making of cassoulet. You are so right, every region has their own take on the dish.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(163 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(163 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #15 of 15

I know this is from long ago...but just in case someone happens along this thread....I googled a gazillion recipes on this and made up my own. Heat oil in large pot. Take sausage and brown it, remove from pot. Throw in chunks of pork and brown it (how much meat depends on whether you prefer a higher meat to veg ratio or higher veg to meat ratio) . Remove pork. Throw in a chopped onion and 1 or 2 chopped bell peppers, cook those up. Throw in 4-6 garlic cloves, brown those. (be careful not to burn!) Add potatoes and carrots. Again amount depends on preference. I love more veg and just a bit of meat for flavor. Dump in a few cups of white wine, deglaze. Add a few cups of homemade chix stock. Throw in a can of italian flavored tomatoes or a few toms from the garden. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add 3-4 cans of white beans, heat through. Now for spices, I add them everytime i throw something new in the pot.. just add what looks right, staying on the easy handed end, then when done adjust to liking. Remember to rinse beans well, they are salty. Spices I use are Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and thyme. I imagine basil, rosemary or herbs de provence would all be lovely as well. Serve w crusty bread.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Traditional French Cassoulet