Gibeau Braised Short Ribs

Another braised meat recipe, this one featuring beef short ribs and coarse mustard. At Gibeau, I cook this one in late summer, to take advantage of the tomatoes the Lot-et-Garonne is famous for.

(Serves 4)


  • 4 Cups Cotes du Duras red wine
  • 4 Lbs beef short ribs
  • 10 shallots (about 10 oz), trimmed, halved if large
  • 3 TBS coarse-grain mustard, or to taste
  • 6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise


Preheat oven to 325°

  • Boil wine in a 2-quart heavy saucepan until reduced to about 1 cup.
  • While wine is reducing, pat ribs dry and cut crosswise into 1-rib pieces (each about 2 1/2 inches long). Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a dry 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot, then brown ribs well in 3 batches on all sides, about 8 minutes for each batch. Transfer browned ribs with tongs to a bowl.
  • Reduce heat to moderate and brown shallots well in fat remaining in pot, stirring. Transfer with a slotted spoon to another bowl.
  • Stir wine and mustard into juices in pot. Add ribs
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 ¾ hours.
  • Gently stir in shallots and tomatoes and continue to simmer, covered, without stirring, until meat is very tender, about 40 minutes.
  • Carefully transfer ribs, shallots, and tomatoes to a platter. Skim off any fat from cooking liquid. If the juices are not thick enough, boil down quickly. Taste and correct the seasoning, if necessary. Add mustard to taste and pour over ribs.

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Gibeau Cassoulet

There are probably as many different recipes for cassoulet as there are cooks who make it. A lot of the recipes I’ve seen go out of their way to make the dish overly complex and expensive. The results, while often delicious, would be unrecognizable to my neighbors at Gibeau. I think it’s important to keep two things in mind about cassoulet. First, it’s peasant cooking. Don’t get extravagant. Second, it’s principally a bean casserole. The key to any great cassoulet is a well-cooked pot of beans. This recipe is an adaptation of one Jacques Pepin published more than 35 years ago. It comes the closest to the kinds of authentic cassoulet you find served in farm kitchens around Gibeau. It’s important to start this recipe two or even three days before you intend to serve it. (Serves 8-10)


  • 2 lbs white navy beans, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 1 Medium leek, white and light green parts only, washed well and split
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and split length-wise
  • 2 stalks celery, but in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 sprigs parsley
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh time
  • 1 lb lean, cured bacon, in one piece, with the rind
  • 1TBS tomato paste
  • 6 Cups cold water
  • 4 Cups cold chicken stock
  • 1 IB garlic sausage
  • 4-5 confit of duck legs, drumsticks and thighs separated
  • 2-3 lbs pork butt
  • 2 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 6 slices fresh white bread, edges removed, processed into fine crumbs
  • ½ Cup fresh minced parsley
  • ¾ Cup reserved fat from the duck and/or pork


Preheat the oven to 375°

  • Drain the beans from their soaking water and transfer them to an 8- to 10-quart enameled casserole.
  • Add the leek, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and parsley to the casserole.
  • Cut the rind off the bacon, roll it and tie it with a piece of kitchen twine.
  • Dissolve the 1 TBS tomato paste in the 6 Cups of cold water.
  • Add the bacon the rind bundle, the tomato water and the cold chicken stock to the beans.
  • Stir well and bring to a boil slowly, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 1¼ hours.
  • Prick the garlic sausage in several places with a fork and add it to the simmering beans. Bring the beans back to a boil quickly, then reduce the heat back to medium low and cook for another ½ hour.
  • While the beans are simmering, season the duck legs and the pork with the salt and pepper and put them in separate roasting pans. Roast the pork for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, add the pan with the duck to the oven and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. Test the duck for doneness, then remove both pans. Transfer the pork and duck to a sheet pan to let them rest. Pour off ½ cup of fat from the pans and reserve.
  • Check the beans for doneness. They should be tender but not mushy or breaking apart. When they’re done, turn off the heat. Lift the sausage, bacon rind, bacon, leek, onion, carrots and celery out of the casserole onto a baking sheet to cool. Discard the bacon rind. Pick out and discard the thyme stems and the bay leaf from the beans. Season the beans with salt and pepper. (Note: it’s important to season the beans after they’re cooked. Salting them at the beginning makes them tougher.)
  • Discard the remaining fat. Set the roasting pans over high heat on the stove. Deglaze each pan with ½ cup of the juice from the beans. Bring the pans to a boil, stirring together all the coagulated bits from the pans, and add it all back into the bean pot
  • When the vegetables have cooled somewhat, puree them in a food mill or a processor until smooth. Add this puree back to the beans.

If preparing ahead, the beans and each of the meats can be stored in separate containers and this point and refrigerated until the next day.

  • Slice the bacon into strips ½ inch wide by 3 inches long. Slice the sausage into ¾ inch slices.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the bacon and cook it, stirring, for 3-4 minutes. Add the sausage and cook it with the bacon until its browned. Remove and set aside.
  • While the sausage and bacon are cooking, slice the port in half lengthwise and then into 1 inch slices.
  • Put the beans into another container and rinse out the casserole. Layer the various ingredients back in the casserole, starting with about 1/3 cup of the beans, followed by a layer of half the bacon and sausage, another 1/3 cup of beans, half the duck, another 1/3 cup of beans, half the pork, repeating this process and ending with a layer of beans.

Place a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the beans. Cover the casserole with its lid and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

  • Remove the casserole from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Reheat the reserved pork/duck fat until it’s melted.
  • Remove the lid from the casserole. Remove the plastic wrap and discard.
  • Spread the breadcrumbs in an even layer over the entire surface. Spoon the reserved pork/duck fat over the top of the crumbs.
  • Place the casserole uncovered in the oven for about 30 minutes. When a crust has formed on top of the beans, break it up by pushing it into the beans with a wooden spoon. Cook the casserole for about another hour, during which time a second crust will form.
  • Let the casserole rest uncovered out of the oven for about 20 minutes, then serve.

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Gibeau Pork Stew With Onions And Prunes Over Polenta

This is a fantastic late fall or winter supper. The simmering stew fills the house with a mouth-watering combination of meat, onions, cinnamon and herbs. If you are lucky enough to have use of home-canned prunes, there’s no need to soak them, as described here. (Serves 6-8)


Make the glazed onions:

  • 12 small white onions, an X cut in the root end, blanched, drained, and peeled
  • ¼ Cup water
  • 1 ½ TBS butter
  • 1 tsp sugar

Make the pork stew:

  • 1 ½ lb pork shoulder or butt, fat trimmed, cut into ¾” cubes
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch dried rosemary, crumbled
  • Pinch dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 Cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ Cups White Bordeaux wine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced ½” thick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ¾ Cups chicken stock
  • 8 large pitted prunes, soaked in hot water to soften
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Make the polenta:

  • 1 Cup medium-coarse polenta
  • 4 Cups water
  • 1 tsp salt; more to taste


Make the onions:

  • In small skillet, combine onions, ¼ Cup water, butter, sugar. Bring to boil.
  • Simmer, covered, until water evaporates and onions are just tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low. Continue cooking uncovered until onions are well browned, about 8 minutes. Set aside, uncovered.

Start the stew

  • Toss the pork with the olive oil, cinnamon, pepper, rosemary, and thyme.
  • In a heavy 5-qt. Dutch oven, brown the pork over medium heat for about 5 minutes, adding no fat to pan.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and sauté, stirring frequently, until any moisture has evaporated and the pork is thoroughly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer pork to a bowl.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add chopped onion to pan juices. Cook until soft and starting to brown, about 6 minutes; add it to the reserved pork.
  • Add the vinegar, mustard, and ½ cup of the wine to the pot. Heat to boiling, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan.
  • Reduce to a glaze. Add another ½ cup wine. Reduce to glaze. Repeat with last ½ c. wine.
  • Add garlic, carrots, bay leaf. Return pork, onions, and juices to the pot, season with salt, and add stock.
  • Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer gently until barely tender, 45-55 minutes.

Make the polenta:

Heat the oven to 350°F.

  • In an oiled 3-qt. nonstick ovenproof skillet, combine the cornmeal, water, and salt.
  • Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
  • Stir, salt if needed, bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest in pan for 5 minutes. Pour onto serving platter.

Finish the stew:

  • After 45 minutes of simmering, add prunes and glazed onions to meat.
  • Continue cooking, uncovered, until the pork is very tender and the stew thickened (about another 15 minutes). Stir occasionally.
  • Remove pot from heat, discard bay leaf and adjust seasonings.
  • Set aside until polenta is ready. If necessary, gently reheat stew to bubbling and serve on top of hot polenta, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

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Gibeau Rabbit Ragu

A few years ago I got the idea of serving rabbit for Easter lunch. I thought it was sort of scandalous until my butcher told me he orders ahead for the holiday and sells out every year. This recipe is a bit of trouble, I admit. You can save a lot of time by substituting homemade enriched rabbit stock with rich veal stock made from demi-glace, thereby reducing the total cooking time to about an hour. (Serves 6)


  • 1 rabbit (2 ½ to 3 ½ ), deboned (Ask the butcher debone the rabbit.) with the carcass reserved

For the Stock:

  • Reserved rabbit carcass
  • 1 large onion chopped coarse
  • 2 carrots sliced coarse
  • 2 ribs celery slices coarse
  • 1 head garlic slice in half cross-wise
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 TBS cup olive oil
  • ½ Cup white Bordeaux wine
  • Large pinch of dried herbs (no lavender)
  • 5-6 black pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves

For the Ragu:

  • ¼ Cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • Pinch of red-pepper flakes
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • ½ Cup White Bordeaux wine
  • 2 Cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
  • 5 cups enriched rabbit stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of dried herbs (no lavender)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

For the Pasta:

  • 2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 12 ounces fresh pappardelle
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, for grating


Make the Stock

Heat the oven to 400°. Roast the rabbit carcass on a baking sheet for 20 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and roast for another 20 minutes. Smear the tomato paste onto the bones and vegetables and roast another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes

Heat the olive oil in a stock pot. When it’s hot but not smoking, add the bones and vegetables and sauté over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the wine, to deglaze the pot and cook until the wine is almost evaporated. Add the herbs, peppercorns and bay leaves. Add about a gallon of COLD water, bring to a boil then reduce to an active simmer. Simmer for 3 hours, until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stain the stock, pressing out all the juices. Discard the solids and deglaze the stock. You should have between 7-8 cups of stock. Transfer to a large saucepan and boil it down rapidly until you have about 5 cups of enriched stock.

Make the Ragu

  • Either finely chop the rabbit meat with a knife, put it through a meat grinder using the large-hope disc or pulse it in a food processor until it’s like a coarse grind — do not over process it.
  • Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large enameled Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • When the oil is shimmering, add the rabbit meat and brown it just enough so it’s not raw. Remove and set aside.
  • Add the remaining olive oil, bring it to heat, then add the onion, carrot, celery. Sauté these for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and pepper flakes and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the wine and reduce by half.
  • Add the tomatoes, enriched rabbit stock, bay leaves and herbs. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half
  • Add the rabbit meat back to the pot, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

You can serve this immediately, but it’s better after a rest of one or even two days. Let it cool, then seal in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Make the Pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pappardelle until al dente. Before draining, save a cup of the pasta water. Toss the pappardelle with the sauce over low heat, adding pasta water as necessary if the sauce is too thick. Divide among pasta bowls and top with the grated cheese.

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