Saturday, February 2, 2013

French Peasant Cookery...A Family Affair

Today we cooked a Cassoulet that Nick and I have been planning on collaborating together for months.  Now this is a complicated dish and I have never seen one so have no idea what it's supposed to look like or taste like for that matter. I am not sure we have done it justice but the end result is redolent and soothing with a deep flavor. I started late last night and soaked the Flageolet beans
overnight in water. This a.m. I shopped for chicken thighs and other ingredients. I brined the thighs early, prepped the Pork Roast and did some of the small stuff. Nick came over around 2 to act as Sous Chef. We used a recipe for a simplified version from Cook's Illustrated that recommended using chicken thighs instead of Duck Confit. (A very difficult to find ingredient here in the Big O.)

Ready for croutons

Nicholas manning the meat browning


I had started cooking the beans as directed so they were close to done when he arrived. We had bacon this morning so I left the drippings in the pan and had cooked 6 extra strips for the casserole.  Nick browned the brined chicken thighs in the bacon fat, the pork cubes next then finally the onions and garlic. We added the rest of the veggies and slow cooked the meats in wine and broth till fork tender. Once the broth had thickened and reduced I added the beans back, the Andouille Sausage and topped the whole thing with croutons. Served with a nice crusty French Loaf and a fresh green salad with a bottle of Cotes du Rhone.

Ok, the verdict. A lot like ham and beans but the beans are super creamy and the flavor was indescribable. The touch of clove really deepened the base notes. The meat was exquisitely tender and it was comforting and tasty.

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