I’ve just texted my daughter-in-law to suggest that she watches “The Little Paris Kitchen”. I love that TV show as it reminds me of my time in Paris especially when Rachel Khoo goes shopping in the fantastic markets! Today she’s cooking a cassoulet.
In August my family is going to the region famous for this dish, hence my text. The two main towns, Carcassonne and Castelnaudary, both claim to make the best one. My husband and I ate them in both places. Quite honestly it’s not which town makes the best, but which restaurant. Our favourite was eaten in an unpretentious little café with red and white gingham tablecloths and red candles on each table.
I’ll explain how I make a delicious and easy one. Please buy the most expensive sausages that you can afford, they need to contain at least 80% meat. You’ll need two per person, Buy one duck leg per serving, I buy Gressingham duck legs at the Co-op. There are two in a pack and you pay £7 for two packs.
- Put the duck in a frying pan to gently melt the fat. Whilst this is happening prepare some shallots by chopping them finely.
- Skin and chop some on-the-vine tomatoes and crush garlic to taste (I use a lot!)
- Put the duck under the grill to brown the skin.
- Fry your sausages and vegetables in the duck fat (or in olive oil if you prefer).
- Everything gets put into a heavy pot (a Creuset if you have one)
- Drain tins of white beans, enough to cover the contents of your pan.
- Add red wine, the same wine that you intend to drink. Merlot is a good choice or Moulin à Vent if you want to spend more.
- Cook for about 2 hours in a medium oven, checking half way through and adding some stock or wine to replenish the liquid.
- Finally cover the dish with grated breadcrumbs.
It can stay in your fridge for up to two days. On Easter Sunday reheat for an hour until the top is golden. Enjoy! What you decide to eat with it is your choice. In France you would have crusty baguettes. You could buy some frozen baguettes and cook them in your hot oven whilst the Cassoulet is resting.
I hope you all enjoy this Easter. It is such a happy festival and so full of hope!