Castelnaudary et Fête du Cassoulet Part II

The Brotherhood of Universal Cassoulet Academy ( La confrérie de l’académie universelle du cassoulet) an organisation dedicated to promote the dish and preserve its traditions.  Each year, during the festival, awards are bestowed upon those who have contributed significantly to the ideals of the organisation and its furtherance. Oaths are made, and awards presented.

All about the center of town the bars/café’s and restaurants are in overdrive preparing for the nights festivities. Last minute preparations for feeding thousands of people each night and sound checks for the numerous stages is a show of its own. Near the main stage is a tent with emergency medical workers set to help should anyone needs assistance.

It must be a daunting task to feed such large numbers at once. There are two large venues where dinners were being served. The one I attended was able to seat over four hundred people at a sitting. Last years total served over the six nights of festival were over 50,000.

Bon appetit!

The cassoulet was served on trays which included a small black-lidded  container filled with Pâté de foie de canard, large portions of crusty baguette,  dessert- tarte de pomme and un verre de vin rouge. The cassoulet dish was yours to take home and perhaps make your own cassoulet.

Traditionally, cassoulet would consist of a mixture of 30% meat (usually duck and pork). The pots in which the dish were originally prepared were made of clay and called cassoles. Tapered with a pouring lip to assist in remove excess fat. The tapered sides were created so that the top was the largest area where a crust could form leaving the remaining dish underneath to remain moist throughout cooking.

While cassoulet sounds like a rich and heavy dish, it is healthy, filling and predominately a winter dish. It is often served with a simple salad and fruit of light dessert.

The self-proclaimed origins of Cassoulet goes to Castelnaudary. During the 100 year war, legend has it, the people of the town gathered and prepared a cassoulet to nourish the defenders with each family bringing what they could to add to the pot. After the meal the enemy was routed and the town spared. If you should dine on Castelnaudary Cassoulet today it would have pork and duck confit.

Castelnaudary Cassoulet

Ingredients

1.3 lbs. Dried Haricots Lingots (white beans)

1.8 lbs/800 gr. bacon

1 kg / 2.2 lbs boneless pork cubed

The Beatlovs

1 kg/ 2.2 lbs boneless lamb cubed

8 pieces canard confit (duck leg   quarters preserved in duck fat)

1 garlic infused sausage cubed

1 pork rind

14  oz tomatoes diced

8 oz carrots sliced

7 onions diced

10 garlic cloves

2 oz olive oil

1 bouquet garni

3 whole cloves

thyme, salt and pepper

Note: If using dried beans soak overnight and rinse well. If using canned beans drain and rinse.

Place pork rind on the bottom of casserole dish/dutch oven and spread the beans on top. Layer the bacon then onions pricked with cloves and bouquet garni, 3 crushed cloves of garlic and the carrots. Season with salt and pepper, add enough water to just cover all ingredients. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Note: If using canned beans, cut simmering time in half.

As the beans simmer, fry pork and lamb pieces in a large skillet with oil. Add 4 diced onions and two minced cloves of garlic. Add thyme and layer with cut tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add water, cover and simmer for an hour.

As the beans are done take out and discard bouquet garni and the onions (with cloves only). Remove the rind and cut into small cubes if you plan to put them back. Add duck confit and cubed sausage and all ingredients from the meat skillet and all liquid.

Mix together well and simmer for twenty minutes.

Emergency Services

Best served very hot and easily re-heated. This recipe will served eight very  hearty appetites.

Bon appétit

et

Bisous,

Léa

Headliners tonight: CALYSTA
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8 thoughts on “Castelnaudary et Fête du Cassoulet Part II

  1. This looks like such wonderful fun! Love local festivities…wish I was there, too!
    Will look at your other musings as I love France as well and always love to hear how it is for an ex-pat to live in Europe…
    Merci!
    Victoria
    (Come by for a visit on my blog sometime, too!)

    1. Hearty yes! I don’t order it unless I have someone to share it with. I can finish about a third of a “serving”. Bon appétit!

    1. After nearly five years here in Paradise I think that most if not all the french are foodies! And why not? When one sees what is on offer. 🙂

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