The Mystery of Cassoulet

27 Aug

If there is one thing I’ll never understand about the French, it is cassoulet.

If you boil it down to its essential elements, what you have is a plateful of sausages, swimming in baked beans.

And there is just nothing elegant about that.

And yet, it is a timeless classic – a favourite with the French, both young and old. It appears on the menu of the classiest bistros in Paris, and family recipes are handed down through the generations.

Of course, quality varies dramatically from the budget supermarket canned range with cheap frankfurts and fairly bland beans to the Michelin star equivalent with tender duck or goose confit featuring top quality sausages.

Now I don’t want you getting the idea that I am a food snob – nothing could be further from the truth. I love a good, hearty peasant dish.

I just wish someone could come up with a way to make it seem more appealing on the plate.

What’s your stance on cassoulet?

____________
Restaurant cassoulet image courtesy of noodlepie on Flickr.
Cassoulet can image courtesy of
timsnell on Flickr.

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7 Responses to “The Mystery of Cassoulet”

  1. cmboyd33 August 27, 2012 at 6:49 AM #

    Ah comfort food, kinda reminds me of feijoada from Brasil.

    • parisinmypocket August 27, 2012 at 12:28 PM #

      Thanks for your comment – I’ve never tried feijoada, what’s it like?

      • cmboyd33 August 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM #

        It’s a black bean and pork stew. Very tasty.

      • parisinmypocket August 27, 2012 at 5:26 PM #

        It does sound good indeed!

  2. Mademoiselle Slimalicious August 27, 2012 at 8:19 AM #

    Cassoulet is one of my favourite foods and my home town dish. I disagree about the fact that cassoulet is just sausage and beans. Cassoulet is slow cooked in duck or goose fat and that is what makes the whole difference, giving the beans and meat a singular taste. Most of the time it includes duck confit, traditional Toulouse pork sausage (wich contains a lot more meat than sausages sold here or in the UK). La Belle Chaurienne (picture) makes one of the best cassoulet ever. I had cassoulet in a Sydney restaurant recently and it was aweful, with a smokey flavour, no duck fat, undercooked beans, watery sauce. When I first served cassoulet to my fiancé, 5 yrs ago in France, he wasn’t impressed at all, now he has learnt to love it. Many French dishes are about tradition and history not fancy look, especially in the South West of France.

  3. parisinmypocket August 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM #

    Thanks Mademoiselle. I was hoping a cassoulet fan would comment and reveal to me the magic of this dish – and you’ve done exactly that 🙂 I should be so lucky as to try the cassoulet of your home town!

  4. BBOOKS - Blog Books August 27, 2012 at 4:01 PM #

    You are invited to submit an article on the topic “Continental Food”
    Here are the guidelines http://bbookmagazine.wordpress.com/submit/

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