recipe comes from Chef Jim Fisher who now runs
cooking holidays in the Dordogne.
you would like to know more about Jim and how he gained
his love of cooking why not have a look at his biography
find out more about the cooking holidays in France at
Jim's cooking school in the Dordogne you will need to
visit his web site <click
the south of France, just to the left of Carcassonne
and nestling in a wide fertile valley in the Arriege
lies the unprepossessing country town of Castelnaudary.
is pretty, but not a great tourist haunt. It is rather
small, and very definitely an 'agricultural' town, yet,
it is famous. Why? Well, it happens to be the world
capital of . . . cassoulet.
gastronauts of Castelnaudary - like the majority of
proud French bons viveurs - are decidedly protective
of their ancient and honourable dish. Here is a cutting
from a - sadly lost - French recipe book, faithfully
of all, principal ingredients: Beans: one will retain
the "lingot" type.
duck or goose conserves like pure and sausage pig bulge
or shoulder with a large natural bowel. To that the
pork rind is added essential to the consistence of the
these basic ingredients are added the complements described
in the recepy and each cook has his own specialities
(in particular the composition of the bouillon). If
the beans are dry, one will make them soak one night
with cold water; to be disposed of afterwards.
the beans in a cold water pan; carry it to the boiling
point to bleach the beans during five minutes. This
water is to be thrown afterwards too. During this time,
prepare a bouillon with the pork rinds cut in broad
plates, with the poultry carcass (if you have it) and/or
some pig bones and according to your taste a little
vegetables such as : onion, carrot, leek. Salt, pepper.
you will add a prepared mince of a little garlic and
old salted bacon.
to use a non calcareous water."
bulge? Natural bowel? Who knows? Who would
want to, but there's no denying what a wonderful meal
cassoulet is. Here's my version . . .
dried haricots blanc, soaked in cold water overnight,
then boiled for 30 minutes in unsalted water. Drain
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly sliced
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
handful of un-stoned black olives
500g ripe plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 dst spoon concentrated tomato puree
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
the juice and pared zest of an orange
a glass of dry white wine
1 smoked duck breast
2 boudin blanc (white sausage, or 'Hog's Pudding')
3 confit duck legs (see recipe Confit d'Canard) separated
into drumsticks and thighs
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
a large saucepan, sweat the onion and garlic until
translucent using a little olive oil.
the paprika, cinnamon, olives, tomatoes, tomato puree,
herbs, juice and roughly chopped zest of the orange,
the wine, smoked duck breast and boudin blanc.
gently for half an hour, then stir in the haricots
blanc and simmer for another 30 minutes.
the confit duck legs and warm through.
from the heat and allow to rest for half an hour or
onto serving plates and top each portion with some