|Castelnaudary sits on the canal midi in the south of France, where we're told the residents make a decent cassoulet.|
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Cassoulet — a traditional 14th century dish from Castelnaudary, France — was originally made to feed the brave army defending the city under foreign attacks. Cassoulet is a stewlike, meat dish with sauce simmering long before the fire.
A great work of kitchen literature: "the Viandier" by Taillevant, whose real name was Guillaume Tirel, was penned by a noted 14th century chef, who cooked for several kings for 60 years. In his book, Taillevant gives pride to pies and stews, including lamb stew and pork with beans. historians believe that the kitchen Taillevant could draw an Arabic book by Mohamed Baghdad in 1226 which reveals an extremely refined cuisine. This book uses a deployment of spices, herbs, pulses and mutton. Some believe that the origin of cassoulet is Arabic.
|Tapenade Bistro's Traditional Cassoulet de Castelnaudary|
Chef Jean-Michel Diot and Executive Chef Samuel Geffroy of Tapenade Bistro present this rich and comforting dish composed with an array of humble and flavorful ingredients slowly cooked.
3 c. dry great Northern beans or French Tarbais beans
1/2 c. duck fat or lard
4 duck legs confit cut in half (separated at the joint)
10 oz. pork butt cut into 3/4-inch cubes
10 oz. fresh pork belly cut into 8 thick slices
10 oz. lamb shoulder cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 garlic sausages cut in half
1/2 c. carrot, diced
1/2 c. onion, diced
1/2 c. celery, diced
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 t. tomato paste
2 t. butter
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 small bunch parsley
1 c. plain breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Rinse beans twice in cold water, and then cover with cold water. Let soak for 12 hours and then drain.
In a Dutch oven, warm duck fat or lard over medium heat.
|Chef Diot, Tapenade Bistro, La Jolla|
Remove all meats and set aside. Use a ladle to remove excess fat from the stock. Set stock aside.
Warm the butter in the pot, then add beans and stock. Make sure the beans are covered by the liquid. Tie together the thyme, bay leaf and one parsley sprig and add to pot. Cook on low heat until tender.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Pour two-thirds of the beans into a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot. Add braised meats and duck confit. Spoon over this the remaining beans, adding just enough of the cooking liquid so the beans are almost submerged.
|Window tables at Tapenade Bistro in La Jolla|
Chop remaining parsley and sprinkle it over the top. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Tapenade Bistro and Catering
7612 Fay Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037