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November 3, 2011

Whilst there is no French National Dish as such, Cassoulet is one of the most well known of French dishes worldwide. Originally hailing from the South West of France, it is eaten throughout the country and is readily available in large tins which can be purchased in most supermarkets.

The origin of Cassoulet is a little obscure. Some say it is an Arab dish, others says it was created in Castelnaudary in the 14th and 15th centuries during the Hundred Years’ war. But whatever its origin, it’s one of the most delicious and satisfying of all French provincial dishes. It is a slow simmered casserole made primarily of white (haricot) beans plus meat but never chicken or fish.

The three famous recipes are Cassoulet de Castelnaudary which is made with pork as the main meat, Cassoulet de Toulouse, which sometimes has the addition of lamb and always Toulouse sausages and Cassoulet de Carcassonne which sometimes has the addition of partridge during the season. Goose or Duck Confit is also often used in the preparation of this dish.

There are many variations, some have more of this than that or some of this and none of that, but whatever the ingredients, the principals remain the same. More beans than meat, cooked in the oven for a very long time during which time the crust which will form should broken several times.

To avoid any complaints from Cassoulet experts, we are featuring one generic recipe for Cassoulet. Don’t be put off by the range of ingredients or the fact that the recipe serves 8. If you are going to undertake the worthwhile effort to cook this dish, you might as well do loads and freeze some for future use. As with most casseroles, it freezes very well and almost improves with re-heating.

Buy it Online in Hong Kong on the Frenchgourmet Hong kong online shop:

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