World Champion Cassoulet winner and chef Christian Constant organizes "La Fête du cassoulet" in his various restaurants in France, from the Violon d'Ingres to Cocottes and Bibent, from 10 to 16 March 2019.
"It's been a tradition for the past two years," explains the chef, "We started slowly and last year people came back, so much so that we almost ran out of food!", he laughs.
Fine Dining Lovers caught up with Christian Constant to discover the secrets behind a good cassoulet and to get hold of his famous recipe!
What are the secrets of a good cassoulet?
The first thing for me is to use Tarbais beans that are soaked the night before. But according to the region in which one is in, one can also use ingot beans from the north or France or Castelnaudary beans.
We must also select good meat and charcuterie, such as pork rind, lamb for navarin, fresh sausage from Toulouse, a non-pistachio sausage from Lyon or Toulouse, duck confit and pork belly.
Then everything is a matter of time: you must first cook the beans the day before with sausage, rind, carrots, onions, bouquet garni, before preparing the navarin lamb with tomatoes, white wine ... I add water and cook for an hour.
Once everything is ready I put the bean stew in the pan with a nice piece of confit, sausage, a slice of breast meat, sausage and a few breadcrumbs on top.
I leave it all in the oven and I put a net of goose fat on it to soak and give a beautiful color.
The Cooking Pot
"Cassoulet" comes from "cassole", this casserole in terracotta essential to the good cooking of the cassoulet. Do not use a cast iron casserole that would pump all the juice of the beans. With a cassole in the ground the dish will simmer well, the binder will stay warm, we will have a nice gratinage and more mellow.
More than patience, it takes love and time above all. Cooking is, above all, a question of organization. We can do a stage one day, the second stage the next day and so on ... It's even better because the cassoulet is always better re-heated!
One last secret?
Cassoulet must be generous! It's better to have left overs than to not have enough. You have to serve generous portions and enjoy it directly.
And here it is! Christopher Constant's French Cassoulet Recipe!