As we face the prospect of a real winter, is there anything better than a rich and hearty meal as the wind howls about the frosted windows of our house? How about beans, pork, chicken and sausage, with plenty of tomato and wine blended in? That’s known as Cassoulet, and it is a peasant’s concoction taken from leftovers, made to nourish, fortify and satisfy inexpensively. The recipe originates as a variation on peasant stew and is intended to incorporate leftover items in your fridge into an elegant dish. Our recipe uses chicken instead of duck, and butter and oil instead of duck fat. But if you have those tidbits, go for it.
Jolie Vue Cassoulet
The Greatest of Winter Dishes (adapted from the recipe of Chez Allard, a Paris bistro) for 6 people
- 2 c. plus a little, Great Northern beans, dry
- 2 onions, cut ½ of 1 into quarters, chop the rest
- 2 bouquets garnis (each in cheesecloth to include 1 small parsley sprig, 1 small thyme sprig, I peppercorn, ½ bayleaf)
- 2 T. butter and 2 T oil, or an equal quantity of rendered JVF pork back fat (the best)
- 1 ½ tomatoes, quartered
- 1 ½ t. tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 T flour
- 3 c. dry white wine
- 6 c. veal or beef stock
- 1 & ½ lbs JVF pork roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
- both legs and thighs of the JVF big fat hen, cut into serving pieces
- 2 JVF pork sausages, browned and sliced (either the country sausage or the sweet Italian, as you prefer)
- Rinse the beans overnight, drain, rinse and set aside
- In a soup or stockpot, add beans, the quartered onion, 1 bouqet garnis, and cold water to cover by about 3 inches. Boil first, then go to low heat, cover and simmer stirring occasionally until beans are soft, 1.75 to 2 hrs. Add salt and pepper to taste at 1.5 hrs.
- While the beans are cooking, add oil and butter to a dutch oven and brown the pork chunks, the sausage and the chicken on both sides, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate and sauté the chopped onion until browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Return the meats to the vessel and cover with the browned onions and add the quartered tomatoes, the tomato paste, the garlic cloves, the bouqet garnis, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in 3 T. of flour and stir in well. Add the wine and broth.
- Cover and simmer over medium heat until meats are tender, about 1.5 hrs.
- Combine all meats and beans and include all of the drippings from the meat vessel, stir well but gently until combined.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until a crust has formed on top. EAT!!
A Rub for Ribs
- 1 T salt
- 2 T brown sugar
- 1 T black pepper
- 1 T ground cumin
- 1 T chili powder