Remember the ginormous cassoulet we made for Christmas at that house in the woods where the niece and nephews all built a fort and contracted poison oak?
Of those three activities, I think the cassoulet turned out the best. Not just because it was my idea, but also because no one ended up in the hospital (which actually could have happened if you think about the fact that we finished the dish over an open fire).
But either way you look at it, because the fort was admittedly pretty awesome too, that cassoulet was impressive and DELICIOUS! I could barely carry it by myself at the end because it was so heavy.
It’s a good thing the younger generation is growing up fast and strong because our holiday centerpieces are getting heavier and heavier. This one had about 2 lbs. of beans, six duck legs and three different kind of pork products in it. I’m not sure how we’re going to top that next Christmas but Uncle Richard is starting to lift weights to get ready.
Anyway, before we start thinking about the next dinner, I thought you might like to know a little more about the dish we cooked for Christmas 2017. I found an interesting history of cassoulet on the website from which I ordered our cassoulet kit (aka that giant box of meat and duck fat that came in the mail).
Apparently, it is a source of much debate (no wonder we like it so much) in the South of France where the dish originated. Some villages think it should have lots of beans and others think it should have more meat. They even argue about what types of meat should go in it.
They should probably just decide to do what we did and put ALL in the meats in there. Reading through the history, it sounds to me like we made the Castelnaudary version, which includes duck confit, sausage and pork shoulder. The recipe we used was from Bon Appetit magazine (in case you can convince your parents you should make it again).
Another interesting fact about the cassoulet is that there is reportedly a brotherhood–the Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet – that defends the glory and quality of the dish. And get this, they are based in Castelnaudary, which explains to me why the version we made was so excellent. If they have the brotherhood, they must have the best.
The brotherhood goes around conducting surprise taste tests and I’m glad they didn’t show up at our door because I would not have wanted to share any of ours with them. Not even a small piece.
What are we going to make next time we’re all together? Whatever it is, let’s make sure it’s good and heavy. It would be a shame if Uncle Richard’s new work outs were all for naught.
More soon and XOXO, Auntie K.