Originating from the south of France, this slow cooked cassarole dish features beans and meats creating a hearty stew. Included are tradtional recipes as well as some delicous variations such as harissa-spiced cassoulet and bean-and-leek cassoulet.
Although there are innumerable versions of cassoulet, most are based on a stew of white beans and various forms of pork. The dish gets its name from the pot it's traditionally baked in, the cassole (see Note), which is often shaped like a wide inverted cone to insure the greatest amount of luscious crust. This version includes duck confit and the French garlic sausages that are a specialty of Toulouse.
Chef Laurence Jossel created this stripped-down version of the classic French stew, with creamy white beans, luscious store-bought duck confit, smoky French garlic sausage and slab bacon. Letting the beans rest overnight develops their flavors.
This North African-inspired cassoulet is chef Gavin Kaysen's nod to all the different cultures in Minneapolis, where his restaurant, Spoon and Stable, is located. "I wanted to showcase new flavors, but in a familiar format," says Kaysen. "I like seeing another culture's view of comfort food."
"I love cooking the hell out of leeks," Jerry Traunfeld says. "They get this melty, rich quality and saucy consistency." In this luscious dish, he combines the slow-cooked leeks with meaty porcini mushrooms and cranberry beans (a.k.a. borlotti or shell beans), which can be found fresh in early autumn and taste like chestnuts. The dish can easily be adapted for carnivores by adding bits of crispy bacon or that key cassoulet ingredient, duck confit.