As soon as the temperatures drop we start dreaming of hearty meals. The heartiest of them all is the iconic cassoulet…which is why we are offering 15% off the recipe kit and all the components at dartagnan.com this week (sale ends Friday, 10/10 at midnight EST). Plan a cassoulet party and share the bounty.
Posts tagged ‘cassoulet’
Pardon My Foie Gras was written by the prolific cookbook author Ruth Chier Rosen, and published in 1956. You can see her astounding collection of vintage cookbooks that span decades and cuisines at her blog Food of the Fifties. She even has an app!
Though a far cry from the comprehensive volumes Julia Child penned on French cooking, this little book offers a view into 1950s America and its attitude toward French food. Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking would not appear until 1961, and we all know what happened after that!
Ruth Chier Rosen wrote an entire series of these little cookbooks. Ours measures only 4 x 5 inches, and is spiral bound with plenty of lovely vintage flourishes. Clever titles with puns are common in her oeuvre. The recipes are short, direct and easy to follow.
As you might expect, we have the foie gras themed volume. It’s all about the “choice cuisine of France,” and we want to share a few of the pages with you here.
As you can see, Ruth was introducing the concept that eating in the French manner involved caring. There is no place for indifference in cooking or dining.
We like Ruth’s message, and it still resonates: French food need not be intimidating. Do things simply, do them well.
And here is a selection of several pages and recipes worth noting.
We begin in the beginning. Soups & sauces.
French onion soup is a classic that borders on kitsch at this point. But made at home, with your own stock, it is something wonderful. This recipe may be a bit reductionist. It does not make clear that you must really, truly brown those onions.
A chapter we cannot skip: the meat and vegetables. It’s nice to see such variety – tripe, veal, lamb, sweetbreads, liver – perhaps easier to find in 1956 America than we might have expected.
You can see Ariane’s recipe for Paupiettes de Veau, and a video in which she demonstrates the preparation. The translation is “Veal Birds,” because they are also known as oiseaux sans tête, or birds without heads.
There are plenty of recipes for chicken, and what French cookbook would be complete without a good roasted chicken recipe? It is the cornerstone of a balanced diet.
We cannot resist the guinea hen – or pintade, in French. In this recipe, we wonder what happens to the rest of the hen. Naturally, every scrap should be eaten and the bones cooked down for stock. Guinea hen legs are not to be missed.
We were intrigued by the cassoulet recipe. But this Toulouse cassoulet seems to be missing something – could it be duck? Our version is Gascon all the way, so we are biased, bien sur. And while the simplified translation of “baked beans” is accurate, it leaves out some of the caché of cassoulet. The recipe does not involve any baking in the oven, which is the stage that makes cassoulet all crunchy on the outside.
We were excited to see the offering from the region of Gascony. And this one involved torching a duck, so that’s fun.
There are desserts and dishes with eggs… and some handy information about wine. We just couldn’t resist this chart of vintages from 1927-1955.
And if you are going to drink, please be responsible and use the correct glass.
However, there is no foie gras in Pardon My Foie Gras. The closest thing is the pâté in the Tournedos Rossini- we know that’s supposed to be foie gras. In 1956 the only foie gras in the United States was canned pâté de foie gras. And some people still think the word “pâté” is synonymous with foie gras.
As you may now, it wasn’t until Ariane started D’Artagnan in 1985 that any fresh foie gras was available in the U.S. at all. Today we sell a variety of preparations, as well as whole livers and foie gras slices. So here’s our version of Tournedos Rossini, with a slice of fresh, seared foie gras on top.
Please meet Mrs. Rosen.
Our little volume came with a card promoting the other titles penned by Ruth and published by her husband Richard Rosen.
Look at the last title – there was urban farming in the 1950s! Sure, it’s being reinvented today on rooftops and in vacant lots in cities across America, but here it is in 1956. Ahead of her time?
If you come across any of these little books, be sure to scoop them up. They offer a charming view of cooking in the 1950s, and would make unique gifts for those friends who are cookbook collectors.
We are obsessed with duck. It’s kind of our thing. And we’ve heard that you like duck as much as we do.
That’s why we’re kicking off the month of March with a giant all-things-duck sale!
This means that duck leg confit, raw moulard duck breast, whole Rohan, Muscovy or Pekin duck, smoked duck breast, duck rillettes, duck prosciutto, duck bacon, duck sausage, duck fat and even our cassoulet kit (it’s got duck in it!) are all specially priced to tempt you.
What are you waiting for? Shop and save 15% on any duck of your choice this week at dartagnan.com.
If you need a little inspiration …
“Cassoulet, like life itself, is not so simple as it seems.” – Paula Wolfert
But our cassoulet recipe kit makes it a whole lot simpler. It includes all the ingredients you need to make a cassoulet to serve 12 (with leftovers) and a clay bowl (cassole) for baking it.
Duck leg confit, duck and pork sausages, ventreche, duck fat, demi-glace and the all-important Tarbais beans are the simple ingredients of this legendary dish. The magic happens when all the flavors mingle together into a thick stew that is ideal for cold winter days. Just get a few bottles of Madiran or Malbec wine and invite some friends over for dinner.
Click through to shop the 15% off sale now, because the deal ends Sunday, January 12, 2014.
We exist for these folks. Variously called “foodies” (a term many dislike) or “foodists” (sounds a little more serious), these are our people. If you’ve got one of these fine folks on your Christmas list and have no idea what to give them … we’re here to help.
Our gift baskets come in three sizes and are each filled with a sampling of our favorite charcuterie. Not to mention truffle butter. These are designed with the gourmand in mind. You can order one here.
Why not go for something luxurious? Say, a lobe or terrine of foie gras, a tin of caviar, or a piece of premium meat, like our Wagyu beef. Something not on the weeknight dinner menu. Something memorable.
We like the cassoulet kit as a gift for a devoted cook, because it’s a cooking project and a legendary dish (Julia Child raved about it). It involves many steps and ingredients, so it’s an experience as well as a meal. And if you get the kit with the clay bowl, your gift recipient will have an unique addition to the kitchen arsenal. Just make sure you get invited over for the cassoulet feast.
Our new Reserve Jean Reno Olive Oil would make a fantastic gift for a film and food fan. The actor Jean Reno grows the olives, works with the mill, and has personally selected the three varieties of oils that bear his name. They are not perishable, so are easy to wrap and bring to the party. Purchase a single bottle, or a set of all three varieties. These are new to the market, and exclusive to D’Artagnan. So there is a chance your foodie has not yet heard of them!
We’ve also got samplers of products that will make you look like a food hero. Sausage collections, duck combo packs, piles of steaks, a bacon sampler, and more are available on our website. There’s always the most tasteful gift of all–the gift certificate.
And should you have any questions, we have a team of hardcore food fanatics in our customer service department. Give them a call.
In recent years cassoulet has really taken off, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s downright common to see cassoulet on menus and in magazines these days….in all manner of variations. There’s even a recently-published book of essays called “The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage.” We don’t promise cassoulet miracles, but we can help to dispel your fears about making it at home. It’s a lot easier than you might imagine.
You can think of cassoulet as the French version of chili: A slow-cooked bean stew studded with tender meat that is best devoured by a crowd. It’s stick-to-your-ribs fare, and French towns compete for best cassoulet, much like a chili cook-off.
For more on the history of cassoulet, and some great photos, check this post.
We admit to being somewhat purist about our cassoulet, but that’s because Ariane comes from Auch, in Gascony, where a specific recipe is followed. In cassoulet country (as Southwest France might be called), different versions are made in different towns, and the true recipe is much disputed. Some will use lamb (a no-no in our rule book), or crumbs on the top (zut alors!), while others will–and this is only in America–use low fat meats in an attempt to save calories. Blasphemy!
But first there is the question of the bean. The D’Artagnan version of cassoulet requires French heirloom beans: The haricot Tarbais. This broad white bean has evolved perfectly for the needs of cassoulet. With a thin, delicate skin and sweet, milky flesh, the Tarbais bean is a perfect match for the rich duck leg confit and sausages our recipe contains. And the magic of Tarbais beans is that most of them will remain whole during cooking, but just enough will burst and those will thicken the cassoulet during its many hours in the oven. We won’t tell you that cannellini beans are forbidden, but consider that we began importing Tarbais beans because Ariane found no substitute for them in America.
We use only duck and pork meats, and nothing smoked. Duck leg confit, duck and Armagnac sausage, ventrèche (a French take on pancetta) and pork and garlic sausage are the meaty ingredients in our recipe, each offering a unique texture. And we never, ever use crumbs on top. With a generous amount of duck fat, cassoulet will form a natural crust of cooked beans. Ariane was taught to break the crust several times as the cassoulet cooks, to thicken the layer of crunchy beans on top.
With all these “rules” cassoulet might seem intimidating. But there’s really nothing hard about preparing a cassoulet feast. Our recipe kit provides all you need (even a French clay bowl for cooking if you like, though any sizable Dutch oven or heavy pot will do), and our easy-to-follow recipe takes the mystery out of the process.
Plus, Ariane and her good friend, Chef Pierre Landet, made a video together to show you how simple it is to make a competitive-quality cassoulet on your first try.
Really, if you can make chili, you can make cassoulet. It’s a one-pot meal that cooks slowly in the oven, with only a little attention needed. And when it’s done, you can invite family and friends to a filling and satisfying meal. The nature of cassoulet is convivial, so get a few bottles of Madiran or Malbec and set out the chairs. Any accompaniments should be light, like a green salad and fruit for dessert.
We love sharing cassoulet — after all, it’s designed for that. In the Southwest of France, where this hearty dish hails from, there is nothing more convivial than a cold night made warm with a group of friends and family gathered around a great big steaming pot of cassoulet. And several bottles of strong red wine, of course. We favor Madiran for a match, but any Malbec will do nicely, too.
It’s that time of year again, our Cassoulet Recipe Kit is on SALE! For a limited time only, save 15% off our signature kit, with or without the authentic French bowl. In honor of this ‘it only happens twice a year’ sale we’d like to share one of our favorite videos. Here’s Ariane making a Gascon-style cassoulet with Chef Pierre Landet of Felix in New York City.
We so look forward to this time of year. The days are short and chilly, we’re curling up in cozy sweaters and craving cassoulet. The classic duck and bean stew from Southwest France is a favorite around here, especially during the autumn months. Fairly easy to prepare and incredibly satisfying, cassoulet should be a staple in every foodie’s recipe repertoire. And we’ve made it even more accessible with our Cassoulet Recipe Kit, recipe tips and how-to video.