I was spending the last few days of our winter vacation in Paris and chatting with friends to plan the de-installation of a show we were all participating in. My current location came to be the topic of conversation, and a dear friend reminisced about a Blanquette de Veau she ate at Auberge Bressane in Paris. Since the girls were spending the night this past weekend, I offered to make the dish for them.
When I was inviting friends to dinner, I had to explain what Cassoulet was to our non-French friends. The best description I could come up with was “pork and pork and pork and pork, duck and duck fat bean stew.” Cassoulet involves 8 different type of pig and duck meats/products. It is an incredibly rich and warming meal, perfect for the change of the weather. The complex flavor is developed by slowly stewing and roasting ham hocks, pork shoulder, pork skin, prosciutto and pancetta and made further complex by the use of duck fat and duck confit. The Tabais or cannellini beans disperse the meatiness to create what tastes like chili for the gods.
I love Boeuf Bourguignonne. It is an incredible rich and savory recipe. A while back, I decided that I could use rabbit instead, and it worked marvelously! It is now one of my mainstay fall/winter recipes. Instead of button mushrooms, I use Porcini mushrooms to pair an earthy flavor with the rabbit. It is a really wonderful combination. I use dried mushrooms and add the water I use to re-hydrate them into the stock, the flavor is amazing!