Here's a little time lapse of the storm.
|Five-Foot Drift Against the Sunroom|
|Grace Likes Being Outside, if Her Paws Don't Touch Snow or Water|
|But Charlie is in His Element|
|About to Porpoise Through the Snow|
|An Uneager Shoveler|
All the forewarning made it easy for us to close the restaurant around noon on Friday when it started to come down hard. And I had all week to plan for food for a long, snowed-in weekend, a forced vacation if you will. Ann asked the weekend before if I would make a cassoulet on Saturday and so I prepped for that during the week, leaving the finally assembly and cooking for Saturday. Knowing it would be impossible to harvest herbs from the garden for many weeks, I went out on Thursday night and picked some parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme for the cassoulet.
I am no stranger to cassoulet and have waxed poetic about it a couple of times on this blog and have certainly made many, many of them each year at the restaurant. The thing to note about the various cassoulets that I have made is that each is different. Cassoulet is not a formulaic thing, despite many a Frenchman dictating what a cassoulet is and is not, in his not so humble opinion. Cassoulet is peasant food, a dish of beans and a little meat for those who could afford some, made from whatever was at hand. This cassoulet is no different: it is made with what I had on hand.
|Mirepoix and Raw Cubed Pork Belly|
|Rich Pork Neck Stock and Steuben Yellow Eye Beans|
I then added another third of the mirepoix and another layer of beans, then the sausages and six or seven whole cloves of garlic. Next in went the bouquet garni of fresh herbs and the remainder of the beans. I then covered the whole with a cup of the highly salty and flavorful drippings from the pork belly that we roast at the restaurant and a few quarts of the pork neck stock. I then put it into a very slow (275F) oven for about four or five hours, until a really great crust had formed over the very juicy beans.
|Crusty and Hot out of the Oven|
What a delicious and comforting dinner for a blizzard night! Remember kids, there is no definitive cassoulet. Learn the technique and use what you have at hand.