Jennifer,Our mutual friend, Trish Hooper, turned us on to the Gordo bean collection. Being a bit French myself, and reading the Cassoulet book written by RG’s friend, and being a huge fan of Cassoulet, both made at home and in Paris, I made my first batch with your beans and was astonished by the taste difference these true heritage beans added. See my pic below.
Here is my recipe if you care to share it:Ingredients:1 pound slab fresh pastured Berkshire pork belly, cut into 2 pieceslarge turnip unless you can get young ones, then get 8 of those. cut into chunks2 bell peppers, chopped1 large white onion, choppedBunch, green onions, sliced4 carrots, cut into nice thick pieces2 stalks celery, choppedBulb of garlic, smashedBrown mushrooms, slicedSalt, pepper and Provence seasonings
In a large preferably iron skillet or Dutch oven, add a 1/2 stick of your best salted butter. Adding a bit of smashed garlic, saute the mushrooms until darkened. Set mushrooms aside.In the butter, saute turnips and carrots, sprinkling with brown sugar. Cook on medium high heat so that a brown edge develops. Set aside.Add all other vegetables including garlic to skillet and saute until slightly softened but still crisp. (Remember, this will all cook in the beans as well so you want to have everything with some life left in it to undergo the bean cooking process.)
In a stock pot, add the beans and cover with water per package instructions. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, add all of the sauteed vegetables (except the mushrooms) and pork belly, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered until beans are almost as soft as you would want them for eating. Stir as little as possible but make sure nothing is caking on the bottom. Add reserved mushrooms at that point. Add a bit of water as needed in the cooking process.
Before going into the oven, and using a metal serving spoon, smash the beans against the side of the pot to release even more flavor from the beans. NOT all of them, just the one layer that is against the sides of the pot. (I was taught this wonderful secret to better beans by a Mexican lady selling charro beans from her stand near the Alamo in San Antonio. If you don’t know where that is, I can’t help you.)Now put your pot into a 425 preheated oven. When your beans are crusted on top, it’s ready.
Set the pot on the table with bowls and utensils and let the diners serve from the pot the way the french do it! If you wish, pull the pork belly onto a separate cutting board and let them slice off a chunk to go back into their beans.
Serve with a great bread, butter and cheap red wine. Candles in a darkened room never hurt either.
Jennifer, our Queen of Customer Service, started a conversation with customer Glen Boudreaux about cassoulet and I wanted to share it with you. Cassoulet is one of the those things that bean people can never talk enough about. It’s not that hard and yet there’s a lot to think about. You can personalize it and still make it traditional, to a degree.
Thanks to Glen for this!