Cassoulet for Dinner

Lyn Tranter, Carcassonne, 1967
Lyn, 1967

For dinner a few weeks ago Lyn cooked a modified (less filling) version of cassoulet, a stew of sausages, pork, duck, and haricot beans. The dish comes from the South-west of France, they say, especially from Carcassonne, Toulouse or Castelnaudary (the soi-disant ‘Capital of Cassoulet’).

It takes most of the day to cook. Like ‘casserole’ (a related word) or ‘tagine’, the word describes both the pot and the meal that cooks in it.

The excellent cook Rick Stein’s recipe contains 500g or a little over a pound of belly pork, 65g / 2½ oz duck or goose fat, 1 head garlic, broken into cloves, peeled and sliced, 1 large onion, chopped, 1kg/2¼lbs dried haricots or white beans, soaked overnight, large bouquet garni made from leek, celery, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and parsley stalks, 6 Toulouse sausages, 4 legs duck confit, cut into two at the joint. Golly, Rick!

Ours had duck breast, chorizo sausage, pork belly, canellini beans. We were joined for dinner by our daughter, son-in-law and six-year-old grandson.

Carcassonne? We visited Carcassonne in the Autumn of 1967, hitch-hiking overland back from London to Australia; see photo. We didn’t know about cassoulet then. We didn’t know about anything then.

For dessert Lyn cooked a small apple tart, a tarte tartine. We had that with vanilla ice-dream. Delicious!

Lyn, Carcassonne, 1967
Lyn, Carcassonne, 1967