Cheers to Cassoulet, I say! by Ginger Johnson
Cassoulet. Pronounce it “cass-oh-lay” and let it roll off your tongue. It’s a fun word to say and in my world if a word is fun, particularly in reference to food, I want to explore it further.
In the case of cassoulet, I’m going to venture forth and start making them. Oh sure, as a from-the-hip cook I’ve certainly already riffed unknowingly on cassoulets, using any nature of long slow cooking escapades and ingredients. They’ve usually been good and it feeds my permanent experimentation jones. Now it’s time to actually make a traditional cassoulet, following a recipe so I can see what the real deal tastes like, smells like, feels like, looks like, and sounds like.
The dish is named after the vessel in which it is traditionally cooked – the cassole. It’s been an earthenware container, glazed inside, that’s functioned as the cooking and serving pot all in one.
While I’ve yet to either purchase or be gifted a cassole, I’m going to move forward using a roasting pan or high sided ceramic baking dish. Today in fact I’ve got rabbit in my fridge that’s begging to be included….though rabbit is not one of the traditional ingredients I can see where it fits the feeling of the origins of the dish (see, there I go again). I do have a few of the other usually included items: white beans, garlic, and tomatoes. If I follow Julia Childs’ recipe then I need to take a trip to my markets. Hmmmm…think that’s another permissions slip to grocery shop. And it’s a very small nudge I need to do that!
I’m talking about cassoulet today because my writings here on Your Home are usually beer centric and cassoulet is an excellent example of adding beer to the mix. White wine is called for in this recipe. I could easily substitute a soft delicate Kolsch. I could and do rehydrate beans using beer. And of course I’d want to serve a complementary beer with the finished dish.
Being a provincial, nutritious, use-a-lot-of-various-ingredients kind of meal, selecting a beer to match nicely with the flavors will be a fun pursuit.
What do you say – care to join me? It’ll be ready at 7.
Till the next glass ~
Go Here: Your local library had lots of cookbooks for you to explore. When you need inspiration, are researching a particular food (like cassoulet) or want to read food herstory, go to your local branch and grab a few cookbooks from the shelf. Find a comfy spot to peruse your choices and take a few home with you.
Try This: Cassoulet. Some of the ingredients are perhaps less common though the end result will surely yield a delicious warm and hearty dish. It’ll be best shared with friends so get a crew together and dig in!
Editors Note: The recipe above includes an Herb Bouquet. For those who have not been introduced to these little beauties as of yet they are is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup,stock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption. For more information please follow this link.