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Cassoulet (French pronunciation: [ka.su.lɛ], from Occitan caçolet [kasuˈlet]) is a rich, slow-cooked casserole containing meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin (couennes) and white beans (haricots blancs). The dish originated in the south of France. It is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides.
|Type||Stew or casserole|
|Place of origin||France|
|Main ingredients||Meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck, sometimes mutton), pork skin, white haricot beans|
The traditional homeland of cassoulet is the region once known as the province of Languedoc, especially the towns of Toulouse, Carcassonne, and Castelnaudary, that claims to be where the dish originated. The brotherhood of Cassoulet, "La Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet de Castelnaudary", has organized competitions and fairs about cassoulet every year since 1999.
All cassoulets are made with white beans (haricots blancs or lingots),[a] duck or goose confit, sausages, and additional meat. In the cassoulet of Toulouse, the meats are pork and mutton, the latter frequently a cold roast shoulder. The Carcassonne version is similar but doubles the portion of mutton and sometimes replaces the duck with partridge. The cassoulet of Castelnaudary uses a duck confit instead of mutton.
In France, cassoulets of varying price and quality are also sold in cans and jars in supermarkets, grocery stores and charcuteries. The cheapest ones contain only beans, tomato sauce, sausages, and bacon. More expensive versions are likely to be cooked with goose fat and to include Toulouse sausages, lamb, goose, or duck confit.
Haute cuisine versions require mixing pre-cooked roasted meats with beans that have been simmered separately with aromatic vegetables, but this runs counter to cassoulet's peasant origins. In the process of preparing the dish it is traditional to deglaze the pot from the previous cassoulet in order to give a base for the next one. This has led to stories, such as the one given by Elizabeth David, citing Anatole France, of a single original cassoulet being extended for years or even decades.
- David, Elizabeth (1999). French Provincial Cooking (7th printing ed.). New York: Penguin Books. pp. 59 and 61. ISBN 0141181532.
- Dryansky, G. Y.; Dryansky, Joanne (2012). "The Southwest Trinity". Coquilles, Calva, & Crème: Exploring France's Culinary Heritage (1st Pegasus Books ed.). New York: Pegasus Books. ISBN 978-1-60598-329-5.
- Grigson, Jane (2001). Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery. London: Grub Street. pp. 163–164. ISBN 9781902304885.
- David, Elizabeth (1980) . French Country Cooking (2nd rev. ed. 1965. Reprinted in Elizabeth David Classics ed.). London: Jill Norman. p. 93. ISBN 0906908035.
- Zeldes, Leah A. (13 January 2009). "Eat this! Cassoulet, a hearty winter casserole from Southwestern France". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
- The dictionary definition of cassoulet at Wiktionary