Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Project Cassoulet is underway

(I'm taking a break from my Chicago restaurant reviews to preview other culinary happenings, but I've still got several meals in the queue, so stay tuned if you've been enjoying the Chicago series.)

My friend Ronnie in Chicago gave me a package of homemade Toulouse style sausages. "Perfect," he said "for making cassoulet." I've been wanting to try my hand at this decadent French bean and meat casserole, so I decided that cooking up a big pot of cassoulet to share with friend would be a perfect way to celebrate my birthday.

Decision made, now I just needed to source the ingredients. I stopped by Sparrow Meats yesterday and placed an order for 2 lbs of pork belly and 1 lb of pork rind, and 3 wild boar sausages to supplement the ones from Ronnie (boar isn't necessarily "traditional" for cassoulet, but they were his suggestion for a nice garlicky sausage). Then I stopped into Zingerman's for duck confit, but they are cooking cassoulet this week too, and didn't have any to sell me! Carlos suggested I try Morgan and York (previously known as Big Ten). My hopes were raised and then dashed, when he said they had 3 of the needed 4 legs of confit, but then reported that it had gone off. However, he called his supplier, and they can have me four legs tomorrow, so we are back in action.

I have been unsuccessful so far at sourcing any fancy French beans, so I'll probably end up using Great Northern or canellini.

Stay tuned for further progress reports - Sunday is the big day, but authentic cassoulet requires a multi-day cooking extravaganza.

7 comments:

LAZ said...

"Morgan and York (previously known as Big Ten)"

The Big Ten Party Store has turned into some kind of highfalutin gourmet shop that sells confit??? Yikes!

Tammy said...

They've had a pretty good cheese counter ever since I moved to Ann Arbor - don't know if that was the case when you lived here. But then, IIRC, a couple of exiles from Zingerman's took over, and eventually bought the place, and it's gotten increasingly upscale since then. The cheese counter is at least as good as Zingerman's, which is saying a lot.

Tammy said...

Oh, and I should mention that they still sell wine and spirits out of the front of the shop - the food stuff is all in the back.

DM said...

Yeah the cheese counter is lovely. And though the staff at Zingerman's is very friendly, they just don't have the time to chat and help you pick something out like the folks at Morgan and York. Also M&Y have a lovely selection of local meats, eggs and the best chickens ever...

Tammy said...

I hadn't been to M&Y in a while, and I was impressed at all the additional items they are carrying since last time - and that was just a quick run in and out. I need to go back and scout around. Probably today, as I realized that I'm supposed to use duck fat to saute some things, and I forgot to buy it the other day.

The fat content of cassoulet is criminal.

Mazenbloo said...

I can't wait to hear how it turns out! And is today really your birthday? :D

Tammy said...

Seems to be going alright so far. I'll know for sure in a couple of hours, when we actually get to eat it.

My actual birthday is tomorrow.