Updated: Mar 26, 2019
Here is one hearty winter dish you must not miss while in the south of France! The cassoulet is one of my favorite things and I am sorry to say that I haven’t yet been able to replicate 100% of the taste at home. Not that it is a complete secret, but the local ingredients are not easily found outside of France.
So here it is! Think of white beans cooked for hours on the stove, then hours in the oven, with duck fat and meat, sausages. The beans have soaked up all the broth and goodness for hours and are covered in a layer of crispy bread crumbs.
It’s originally a peasant dish and its story begins during the 100-year war against the British. The legend goes as follows: the god-damned English have installed a siege on Castelnaudary, the city is close to famine. The French then decide to put all their leftover ingredients together to share one last hearty meal, marinated in a giant pot. All sorts of things go into it, like lard, pork parts, sausages and beans. After this epic meal, the soldiers are so pumped they end up overtaking the British and push them all the way back to the English Channel. Maybe Redbull give you wings, but cassoulet gives you victory over the Brits!
Personally, I don’t hold it against the English : ) I have fond memories as a kid of our family trips to the ski resort. The drive itself was long and boring but we would often stop at this one highway restaurant for the very best cassoulet ever! This was the one single dish the restaurant would serve and it smelled heavenly. So ski trip or not, get yourself to Castelnaudary someday and try it out! It’s right in the middle between Toulouse and Carcassonne.
Here is a recipe for you straight from the Confrérie du Cassoulet (brotherhood of cassoulet)!
Not to worry, I’ll have it arranged and translated in English here for you!
So yes, there is such things as brotherhood of cassoulet, and actually, many of the traditional foods and beverage do. Remember my last post on canelés? The members of the confrérie take it upon themselves to protect the name and recipe from being corrupted or appropriated by other groups. Or maybe they just do it for the outfit… it’s a possibility.