Using the diverse cultures and foods of Astoria, NY to feed one man's imagination in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

All pork cassoulet

It’s cold, really cold so why not a cassoulet, an all pork cassoulet. I have my farm raised pig but we also need good ingredients to round out the dish. Right here in Astoria, New York we have a shop called Munkin. An Eastern European pork store where they produce 30 types of smoked and cured pork products in house. Just being there is like strolling through heaven, if your into that sort of thing. They might use commercial pork BUT it’s a local artisanal smoke house and that's good enough for me. They care, they know, they make darn good stuff.

All Pork Cassoulet. Inspired by our Czech neighbors at the Beer garden.
Feeds 8-10 people.
Recipe: Jonathan Forgash

Over all an easy dish. Lots of cooking time but really just a couple of 1 pot dishes with little clean up and big pay off. Serve with wine or beer.

2lbs dry Italian white beans (or similar). Soaked overnight and drained.
Bouquet garni
6 links smoked fresh sausage
Bone from shoulder
Pork rind (skin and fat) from 1 pork shoulder
1 medium carrot, 2 rib celery, 1 head peeled garlic, 1 onion with three cloves stuck in.

Cover with water, bring to boil then low simmer for 1hr or until beans or softened, not mushy.
Remove sausage after the first 1/2 hour to a plate.
When beans are done, remove from stove and let cool with lid off.
Remove the pork rind and add it to the meat roasting in the oven, why? Because it adds more gelatinous goodness to the dish.

MEAT: Start this section while beans are cooking.
4lb butterflied pork shoulder (salt and pepper) seared on all sides in roasting pan or lg Dutch oven. Remove pork to plate. Leave fat and drippings in pan.
Sautee 2 sliced onion till translucent. Add 1 cup brandy or beer, scrape up bits from pan and reduce.
Add 1 head peeled garlic, 1 medium carrot whole and 2 ribs celery whole.
6 juniper berries and 6 peppercorn
Cover with 28oz canned whole tomatoes
Put the seared leg and the pork rind (added after beans are done) into the mixture. Baste throughout cooking process with sauce.
Season with salt and pepper.
Into a preheated 400F oven for 30 minutes uncovered. Then lower heat to 300F, cover and cook 1.5 hours or until meat is fork tender (170-185F internal temp).
Remove meat to plate and continue to cook sauce and rind covered until rind is easy to slice and almost falls apart.
Remove from oven and let cool in sauce.

NOTE: Beans and meat can be prepared up to two days earlier. This will make for a richer dish. Same is true for all stews and other similar dishes.

Cube pork shoulder, slice skin into ribbons, slice sausage into rounds.
Strain beans and reserve liquid for another dish. Throw out the pork bone.
Chop veggies in meat sauce or use a stick blender. Mix veggies into sauce.
Mix meats into sauce and set aside.
Prepare 2 cups bread crumbs with 1 cup parsley leaves chopped in.

In 2 large casserole pans, layer beans on bottom, layer meat and sauce, top with layer of beans. Sprinkle on breadcrumb mix to create crust. Drizzle over plenty of olive oil to coat the crumbs. Cook in oven at 350 uncovered 30 minutes. or till interior is hot and crust is dark and bubbly.

NOTE: Do not layer too high. You want a balance between meat, soft beans and crust.

NOTE: If dish components prepared previous day, bring everything to room temp before assembling the casseroles. Cook uncovered 1hr at 350 or till interior is hot and crust is dark and bubbly.

Creamy sauerkraut sauce. Served as a condiment or side dish.
8 slices bacon
4 tablespoon butter
2 lg onions thin sliced
1 teaspoon caraway seed
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard. Look for Czech or German style.
2 qt rinsed and drained store bought sauerkraut
½ cup chopped parsley
Cook bacon till crisp. Chop bacon and back into pan with drippings.
Add butter.
Over high heat, cook onion with caraway seed. Cover pan to sweat onions. When translucent and liquid reduced add flour. Cook till lightly browned.
Add mustard and sauerkraut. Mix well and cover over low heat for 15 minutes. Continue stirring to incorporate. Taste for salt, mustard and caraway. Adjust as needed. Stir in parsley.
Dish should be creamy and smooth. If too dry add water and cook a bit more.

Serve along side the cassoulet.


Laura said...

I think I died and went to heaven.

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