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Cassoulet - Casserole Of Beans, Lamb, Ham and Sausage

French
French traditional dish.

Cassoulet is a hearty traditional dish from Southwest France. I used to make this in San Francisco. It goes with bread and red wine and improves with age. According to Larousse Gastronomique there are three kinds do cassoulet. Castelnaudary is made with fresh pork, ham,ham knuckle, and fresh bacon rinds. Carcassonne adds a short leg of mutton and partridges in season. Toulouse starts with Castelnaudry and adds breast of pork, Toulouse sausage, mutton neck, and either confit of goose or duck. They each make use of ingredients local to their region.
Ingredients
1 pound Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained.
6 cups cold water
1 1/2 pound cubed boneless lamb
2 medium onions, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 large smoked ham hock (about 1 lb.)
1 bay leaf
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 pound Polish sausage or smoked bratwurst
1 tablespoon salad oil
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup soft French bread crumbs
 
Steps
1 Place beans and water in a deep bowl and let stand for 8 hours or overnight (or, if time is limited, bring to a boil in a 4-quart kettle, boil briskly for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 1 hour).

2 In a Dutch oven brown lamb cubes, about half at a time. In their own trimmings, removing meat as it browns.

3 In the same drippings cook onions, carrot and garlic until limp. Return lamb to pan.

4 Add beans and their liquid, ham hock, bay leaf, bouillon cubes, tomato sauce and thyme. Bring to boiling.

5 Transfer mixture to a deep 4-quart casserole. Cover and bake in a 350°F oven for 3 to 4 hours, until beans are tender.

6 Remove ham hock; discard bones and skin and return the meat to the bean mixture in chunks.

7 Cut sausage into 2-inch lengths; with a fork pierce the skin of each piece in several places. Stir sausage into bean mixture. If mixture seems dry, add up to 1 cup hot water.

8 In a frying pan heat oil and butter; stir in bread crumbs until well coated.

9 Sprinkle crumbs over bean mixture. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, until crumbs are well browned and sausage is heated through, about 40 minutes longer.

10 Serve directly, or let cool and reheat the next day for improved flavor.


Yield
servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 8 servings
Notes NOTE On Beans. Phipps Country Store is a good source for gigandes. You can substitute white navy beans. Recipe adapted from Patricia Wells ""Gigot Aux Chevriers Le Mont-Saint-Michel"" in The Food Lover's Guide to France.

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