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Not Casssoulet (But Mighty Fine)

Updated: We now of course grow our own Cassoulet beans here in California from heirloom French Tarbais seed. I mentioned making this in the Rancho Gordo newsletter but I thought it should also make an appearance here. I love flageolet beans a lot and often have to justify them to Francophiles who insist that a cassoulet must be made with heirloom Tarbais beans. I don't know of any domestic grower of Tarbais and they're hard to come by. My LaRousse Gastronomique just calls for dry white beans while others call for Haricot de Castelnaudery specifically. What to do? Maybe relax a little, I'd say! I'd worry more about the correct sausages or good duck confit. Feb_2007067 After reading several recipes, I experimented and took the confit I had from The Fatted Calf and put the skin on the bottom of my clay gratin. I then added a layer of cooked flageolet, followed by the shredded meat of the confit, then another layer of beans and the whole mess is topped off with bread crumbs. This went into the oven at 350F for about 45 minutes and developed a nice crust. Feb_2007073 I would never pass this off as authentic or even French but readers, it was out of this world! I can't wait to experiment more with this bean gratin idea. It would make an ideal side dish or work on its own with a salad. Jill Nussinow, author of The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment likes sun-dried tomatoes and thyme with her flageolet. You could easily skip the duck and try Jill's version instead, just try it with bread crumbs and then report back.

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