January 5, 2009

A Cassoulet Question

I was looking at some stats from my account this morning and noticed that someone stumbled across my Flickr page while searching for a recipe for Vegetarian Cassoulet.

Vegetarian Cassoulet?

Ok, so I have to ask the question: how can such a thing exist?

Isn't the very essence, the very soul of Cassoulet the beans and the meat, be it duck, goose, pork or lamb, cooked slowly together in a cassole until thick, rich and bubbly?
Beans can also be cooked slowly, with vegetables, until thick, rich and bubbly (a dish I love, by the way). That is called Bean Stew. Not Cassoulet. And not vegetarian Cassoulet.

Yes, you can argue that it is a question of semantics. But I believe that the tradition of dishes like Cassoulet should be respected.

No Meat = No Cassoulet

I'm just saying.

confit de canard, pancetta, sausages, couenne (pork rind) for the Cassoulet

confit de canard

two variations - one to cook over the fire and one to go into the oven

The Cassoulet recipe from Camp Cassoulet at Kate Hill's home in Gascony.
A Toulouse Style Cassoulet recipe from Paula Wolfert. Pin It


Peter M said...

Drool...I want Casoullet, toute suite!

The ingredients are a marvel to look at.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

According to Wickipedia a Cassoulet (from Occitan caçolet [kasuˈlet]) is a rich, slow-cooked bean stew or casserole originating in the southwest of France, containing meat (typically pork sausages, pork, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin (couennes) and white haricot beans.

But on web there are lots of recipes for Vegetarian Cassolet!!!!

Veronica said...

HAHAHA!! Thanks for that -- the idea of a vegetarian cassoulet is laughable :-)

Judith said...

I'll respectfully disagree ;-) I looove veggie cassoulet and have several recipes for it. Being a devotee of the Languedoc region but not being able to taste many of the delicacies due to my meatlessness, when I come home I'm always looking for alternatives.

Vin de la Table said...

Vegetarian cassoulet seems sad, like a grilled cheese sandwich made with processed Tofu dairy product imitator, and margarine. But as a former seven-year vegetarian, I might try a faux meatless cassoulet made with enough butter and garlic. But I'd probably call it something else.

Steve Buser said...

I'm with you. If someone wants to come up with a new recipe and call it what they will, let them feel free -- but let the old names stay with the foods that made them so popular.

Loulou said...

And the finished dish is incredible! You should make a stop in the south of France some time and we'll make some Cassoulet.

I read that too. :)
There are many who still speak Occitan in our region, so I love that the name comes from an Occitan word.
There are a lot of vegetarian recipes. I just object to them using the name Cassoulet for a vegetarian dish. It is not a vegetarian dish!

Yes, I was having a bit of a rant.
I guess if you've never had the real thing it might be less offensive to just throw some beans and veg in a pot, cook it up, and call it Cassoulet. But I object!

You can absolutely disagree and I always appreciate your opinion. Since you are a cheese lover like me, you will be forgiven. :)

Vin de Table
I was a vegetarian for 5 years too.
It is really the hijacking of the name that I object to. Why does it need to be called Cassoulet if it isn't what Cassoulet really is about? For example I wouldn't (and couldn't!) make Vegetarian Bolognese sauce for pasta.

Yes, exactly! Call them something else!
Thanks for commenting.

georgiegirl said...

Bravo to you. Kate will be proud of you. BTW, she must be busy because her site has not been updated since Thanksgiving.

We Are Never Full said...

you go girl!!! this post is really speaking to me. I feel so strongly about cassoulet having eaten it in toulouse and in castelnaudary. there is NO NO NO reason that it should be made vegetarian. it can not be a cassoulet w/o the meat. the flavor is based on the meat. call it something else - call it a bean stew but please don't call it a cassoulet!

i say this with the upmost respect to vegetarians...

Loulou said...

I have sent Kate a couple of emails and haven't heard a thing from her. I think she's either really busy or is having Internet problems. I hope to hear from her soon!

We Are Never Full
That is exactly my point! :)
I don't think it is asking too much for people not to distort an honest dish like Cassoulet!

spacedlaw said...

Yes, it is as much a heresy as a FAT FREE cassoulet!
It could be nice, but it's just NOT a cassoulet.
In the same way that a bean free cassoulet would not be a cassoulet either.

Loulou said...

You got it!
A bean-free Cassoulet is no more a Cassoulet than a meat-free one is.
And fat-free? Forget it!

John said...

I really do have to warn other readers of purchasing cassole pots through Kate Hill. I ordered one and it arrived poorly packed and in multiple pieces. After sending repeated e-mail messages to her it is now a month later and I have yet to receive a reply. :-(

Loulou said...

I am really sorry to hear that and am sure Kate would replace it. I will call her when I get back to France for you, if you like.
She's had difficult internet connectivity recently, so I don't think that she's ignoring you.
Let me know if I can help.

John said...

Thanks LouLou.

I can truly empathize with anyone having Internet connectivity problems. I know from personal experience that being on a boat can sometimes complicate such things. That said, Kate appears to still be making new posts to her blog so I'm left wondering "What's up?"

If you are able to communicate via any method with her before I do, could you please let her know that John in Seattle would appreciate a short response letting me know that my messages have reached her.

Thanks again ...keep up the great blogging!

Loulou said...

Got your email and your information. I'll be back in France next week and will give her a call and tell her what happened. I'll let you know as soon as I do.