Friday, October 2, 2009

Cassoulet Blogging

The weather is turning crisp here in New England, and Cook's Illustrated put out a new cassoulet recipe to tempt me... so I think it's time to plan to make me some French comfort food. And yes, it does require planning, being that even "quick" versions that include duck confit take two days... and I am considering a supremely hardcore version that takes three... and the more exotic ingredients aren't available at most neighborhood supermarkets. Last winter, I made a Saveur version of cassoulet that was more traditional than any I had made to that point. It was a good recipe, and I liked it a lot, but I'm still feel like I need to try some more variations until I can settle on my preferred version. I going to make it again when it's really cold, in January or February... so I don't have to make the uber traditional recipe of "absolutely no compromises" linked above. The major issue with the Food & Wine version, besides time investment, is cost. Since I have to get my duck legs, ham hocks, salt pork, and pancetta from the most expensive butcher in town it's going to be at least $50 for the meats and maybe more. In addition, that recipe provides an enormous amount of food... much more than I could consume in a week unless I dedicate my existence to eating cassoulet. So if I'm going to do that I really need to invite over some meat eaters and send them home with leftovers... something I want to do at some point... but perhaps not in the next couple weeks. I may save that for the winter and make the Cook's Illustrated version instead... since the only "specialty" ingredients it calls for are the duck legs, salt pork, and Toulouse style garlic pork sausages... which won't break the bank heading into the holidays.

So, I guess I've decided... Cook's Illustrated it is... a little more chill and reasonably priced, but undoubtedly still delicious.