Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Cassoulet

This is the cassoulet recipe that I've settled on for turkey duck and pork day. √Čtienne Rousselot was the source for the recipe, and that's him above speaking in French and pointing knowingly at various pork products and stirring beans. No, I don't know what he's saying either, but he's saying it in French so it sounds delicious. He has been translated elsewhere, however, and says:
"It's all in the little things, the simple things," he answered. "For example, I leave the cassole in the oven for seven hours, at a low temperature. Also, I let a nice crust form on the top, and then break it and let it re-form at least four times."

As Rousselot took another sip of wine, I asked the elderly chef when he planned to retire. "Never," he said. "My dream is to die with an oven full of cassoulet."

The only thing I wasn't able to obtain for the recipe was a ham bone... and I needed like 5 or 6 ham hocks to get to four pounds, so hopefully they'll have enough meat. No bread crumbs in this recipe, which strikes me as unusual, but then what do I know? It seems a more bare bones recipe than I've used in the past, but that's part of what I find intriguing about it.

We're driving up to Maine tonight, so I'll salt the duck legs for the confit before I go to bed. Looks like most of the work is the day before serving, so that's good... I also have to make the pumpkin pie, but probably I can blind bake the crust while the beans and ham hocks are going on the stove. Anyway... doesn't seem too bad. We've decided to go with the caramelized corn with fresh mint and the wild rice, almond, and mushroom pilaf from the New York Times. We couldn't find Chanterelles (not a surprise really - they never seem to be around when we want them) and Anna is of the opinion that margarine doesn't brown, so we couldn't make the cauliflower vegan... or at least, it wouldn't be worth doing so. Green beans will be involved, but I think just steamed or cooked in some other simple way.

That's basically it... this will probably be my last post before Monday. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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