I know, the Tour is almost finished and I am far behind in my recipes. Life got in the way, in a good way that is, as I have signed a new client who I have been trying to work with since I started my business. So it is all good.
Episode 3 relates to Stages 10 and 11 which were based across the South West of France and the Pyrénnées, and what best recipe comes to mind from there? Rich, earthy, wintery and perfectly appropriate for my Australian readers who are still experiencing winter, although it feels like Spring today. It should include duck or foie gras, other meats and vegetables, so here it is:
You are not visiting my site to get told to buy a conserved Cassoulet, although some can be very good.
So how do we go about it, then? Well, first a word of caution as this recipe is expensive in terms of the time involved and the cost of the ingredients. It is also better cooked in large quantities, so if it's only you and your significant other, visit Jean-Marc at the Orange Grove Market and it will be quicker and cheaper. In my case with 4 or 5 people around the table, it starts to make sense, and in that particular case, I did it just for you my dear readers and a young man who stayed with us for a couple of weeks last year. Now, feel free to compensate me for my trouble with a good bottle of Bordeaux - my address is in the footer!
More seriously, you will need to buy some organic beans, some magrets or confit legs, some duck fat and some saucisses de Toulouse. See my choices below:
You will also need some onions, carrots and potatoes to garnish in the end.
Now that you have spent your good money on quality ingredients, it is time to use them properly, and that entails starting to prepare at least the day before you want to serve. If you can, add an extra day, so the cooked cassoulet can rest overnight and reheated on the day.
You need to first soak the beans in cold water overnight. But let's start with cooking the duck!
In my case, Commissary Kitchen did most of the work for me and I just had to re-heat the duck legs in plenty duck fat in the oven for half an hour. If you start from scratch, then slow cook them for 2 hours at relatively low temperature like 160 degrees. Rest overnight in the fridge.
It is MasterChef season again in Australia, and we get glued to our screens most nights at 7.30pm...
In its third year now, this is an amazing phenomenon, with wide ranging repercussions in the life of many young or older people, as well as a big economical impact, as everybody rushes to buy the (branded...) products used, or visiting the restaurant whose Chefs are invited on the show.
Take the example of this recipe: it calls for verjuice and vino cotto.
These two ingredients are definitely not your top of the list ingredients in your pantry, are they? Do you know what "vino cotto" is? I didn't...
So, here I am, reading the recipe by Maggie Beer, one of our iconic food figure in Australia, following a hint from my ex-colleague Janine, herself a talented amateur cook who was short listed in the 50-strong Melbourne contingent of this year's program contestants, and guess what? verjuice and vino cotto are two of the ingredients that Maggie Beer makes and sells by the gallon (vino cotto is now her most popular product sold via her online shop!).
I had not seen the episode, a Masterclass, and got some help from Janine.
You can find the recipe here: http://www.masterchef.com.au/chocolate-quince-and-almond-tart.htm
I am not very good at pastry, and I struggled to get the dow right - in fact I failed lamentably, but got some consolation out of the fact that my friend did have some similar problems.
The end results were obviously very "eatable" as we both almost missed out taking photographs of the finish products...
So here are a couple of shots of the last remaining slices:
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
A link here for our non-metric readers: