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.
Preheat oven to 325°
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)
Preheat the oven to 375°
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.
Place a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the beans. Cover the casserole with its lid and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
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:
Make the pork stew:
Make the polenta:
Make the onions:
Start the stew
Make the polenta:
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Finish the stew:
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)
For the Stock:
For the Ragu:
For the Pasta:
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
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.