It was back in 2021 when Sylvie first reached out to us. Her memoir, Cassoulet Confessions: Food, France, Family and the Stew That Saved My Soul was going to be released by Hardie Grant, and she wanted to see if there might be any synergies.
Fast forward, we created a Special Edition Cassole to coincide with the launch of the book.
Now, this coming Monday, Sylvie will be in Minneapolis for an evening dedicated to cassoulet.
We’re co-hosting an event at Alliance Française, the ticket price includes the entrance fee, a copy of Sylvie Bigar’s book, refreshments, and a cassoulet tasting.
One of my heros, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, founding host of the Splendid Table on MPR, will moderate the panel featuring:
- Sylvie Bigar, author
- Vincent Francoual, local French chef at Chloe in Minneapolis
- and yours truly, Morgan Baum, owner of the Clay Coyote
This event is for Alliance Française members only, so you’ll want to first set up an account on the site in order to checkout: https://www.afmsp.org/events/cassoulet
Sylvie’s Gateway Cassoulet Recipe
Excerpt from Sylvie Bigar’s food and travel memoir, Cassoulet Confessions: Food, France, Family and the Stew That Saved My Soul, published by Hardie Grant, September 13, 2022
YIELD: Serves 2
TIME: prep 40 mins, cooking time 21/2 hours
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) dried cannellini beans or other large white beans
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 parsley sprig (leaves only)
3 thyme sprigs (leaves only)
½ tablespoon salt
350 g (12 oz) fresh pork belly with skin, cut into 3 cm (1 in) cubes
1 tablespoon duck fat
200 g (½ lb) fresh pork sausage, cut into 5 cm (2 in) long pieces
2 legs duck confit
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
1 liter (34 fl oz/4 cups) store-bought chicken stock
- Rinse the beans thoroughly, then soak for at least 2 hours but no longer than 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
- Drain the beans and rinse under cold water. Fill a 4 liter (135 fl oz/ 16 cups) Dutch oven with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 7 minutes, then drain and run under cold water again. Set aside in a bowl.
- In a blender, combine the onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt and 60 ml (2 fl oz/1⁄4 cup) of water. Puree until smooth.
- In the Dutch oven, sear the pork belly cubes over medium heat until browned on all sides – about 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning. Remove and set aside.
- Melt the duck fat in the Dutch oven over medium heat, then cook the sausage, stirring frequently until brown – about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage and set aside, then add the duck legs and sear for about 1 minute per side. Remove and set aside. Add the garlic/onion puree and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly and scraping any pieces of meat stuck to the bottom.
- Add the puree to the beans, along with the carrot, and mix until well coated.
- Transfer about one-third of the bean mix to the Dutch oven, enough to cover the bottom.
- Layer the pork belly over the beans, then the sausages. Finally, place the duck legs on top and cover with the remaining beans. Season with the nutmeg and a good grind of pepper. Add just enough stock to cover the beans. Reserve any remaining stock to add during the cooking process.
- Bake uncovered until the cassoulet comes to a simmer on the sides and a crust begins to form – about 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 150°C (300°F) and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes, checking regularly to break the crust with the back of a spoon and ensure that the cassoulet remains moist. Add stock or water if necessary.
- Remove the cassoulet from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving. Place the Dutch oven at the center of the table and serve family style.
Alliance Française in Minneapolis
227 Colfax Avenue N Minneapolis, MN 55405
Monday, February 27th from 6-8:30pm