The Mystery of Cassoulet

If there is one thing I’ll never understand about the French, it is cassoulet.

If you boil it down to its essential elements, what you have is a plateful of sausages, swimming in baked beans.

And there is just nothing elegant about that.

And yet, it is a timeless classic – a favourite with the French, both young and old. It appears on the menu of the classiest bistros in Paris, and family recipes are handed down through the generations.

Of course, quality varies dramatically from the budget supermarket canned range with cheap frankfurts and fairly bland beans to the Michelin star equivalent with tender duck or goose confit featuring top quality sausages.

Now I don’t want you getting the idea that I am a food snob – nothing could be further from the truth. I love a good, hearty peasant dish.

I just wish someone could come up with a way to make it seem more appealing on the plate.

What’s your stance on cassoulet?

Restaurant cassoulet image courtesy of noodlepie on Flickr.
Cassoulet can image courtesy of
timsnell on Flickr.


7 thoughts on “The Mystery of Cassoulet

  1. Cassoulet is one of my favourite foods and my home town dish. I disagree about the fact that cassoulet is just sausage and beans. Cassoulet is slow cooked in duck or goose fat and that is what makes the whole difference, giving the beans and meat a singular taste. Most of the time it includes duck confit, traditional Toulouse pork sausage (wich contains a lot more meat than sausages sold here or in the UK). La Belle Chaurienne (picture) makes one of the best cassoulet ever. I had cassoulet in a Sydney restaurant recently and it was aweful, with a smokey flavour, no duck fat, undercooked beans, watery sauce. When I first served cassoulet to my fiancé, 5 yrs ago in France, he wasn’t impressed at all, now he has learnt to love it. Many French dishes are about tradition and history not fancy look, especially in the South West of France.

  2. Thanks Mademoiselle. I was hoping a cassoulet fan would comment and reveal to me the magic of this dish – and you’ve done exactly that 🙂 I should be so lucky as to try the cassoulet of your home town!

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