Sunday, September 21, 2008

Scarlet Runner Cassoulettes

I hate to do this (or anything for the sake of doing), but since I said I would post the cassoulettes (mini-cassoulet) from the Scarlet Runner beans I grew (or that I would cook them, actually), here it is. Sorry to give it so unenthusiastically, but it's late, my head hurts and I'm developing a case of the itis.

This took the better part of a day (two, in fact). Day one: salt the duck legs and fridge overnight. Day two: start soaking the beans in hot water, and confit the duck. Day three: reheat and shred the duck, cook the beans, assemble the cassoulettes.

To get the beans ready, I mostly followed Hank's advice in the comments section of my original bean post. But since the beans were fresh, they didn't give me too much lip. And of course, I never salt my bean cooking water ('else they go tough). The beans were quite nice and tender, and although their color bled a bit, they stayed a pretty lavender-taupe.

There just weren't enough of them.

I had to supplement with a can of butter beans (Phaseolus lunatus; named for their resemblance to the full moon, chosen for their similarity to runner beans in size and texture). In Appalachia, butter beans are often synonymous with runner beans. Elsewhere, with lima beans. Mine were Italian. You do the math. I already had some in the cupboard, thankfully, because the thought of buying more beans, soaking them, and cooking them for hours made me want to blow my fucking brains out.

I shopped for some little crocks at Goodwill today, but couldn't find the perfect ones. I ended up using my old vintage Anchor Hocking milk glass flat bowls instead (had I the coveted Le Creuset mini cocottes, I'da used those instead). I lined them with some North Carolina prosciutto (just a couple slices), laid in half a cooked pork sausage and forkfuls of shredded duck confit, then spooned in some beans and topped with a white wine sauce thickened with duck fat roux, with chopped thyme and the roasted garlic and rosemary from confiting the duck.

It was so rich! Hence, my sodium headache and intestinal binding. I ended up serving it with some quick tomato-zucchini strata just to get some damned minerals and acid into my mouth. Of course, a little Bordeaux didn't hurt, either.

I'm going to be in Washington for the week (vegetation monitoring), and posting will be a bit spotty. I'll do my best. In the meanwhile, please watch this new video from TV on the Radio (one of my favorite bands EVAR). It is extremely fucking good. This song, Golden Age, starts with a total Wanna Be Startin' Something bassline/beat from Thriller, then segues seamlessly into a Talking Heads-ish Afrobeat thing that is so tasty. And it has magical dancing cops and Care Bears. Do yourself the favor.

28 comments:

Manggy said...

Hmm, video not available in my country. Of course it is, Youtube! You just don't want me to see it. And I was so looking forward to the Care Bears!

I think part of the un-enthusiasm is the massive amount of effort and the fact that it didn't go exactly as planned, but the truth is, it does look really delicious and I can only dream of a cassoulette-d duck confit.

Okay, maybe it is the headache :( I hope you feel better soon. Good luck with Washington!

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

Heather- that looks SO YUMMY! Sorry it drained you. That happens sometimes.

I don't have the patience for shit like confit - I have a toddler. If a dish takes more than an hour (aside from stuff you put in the oven and then walk away) I just can't get it done these days.

Peter G said...

Brilliant cassoulettes Heather...I can only imagine the richness here. (Cooking geniuses tend to suffer from headaches. Didn't you know?) Have fun in Washington.

Alex Rushmer said...

Ooo, TV on the Radio - cannae wait to get my little paws on the new album.

Oh, and the beans look good too.

Núria said...

I love your cassoulettes Heather! It's such a great dish for the Autumn days :D.
From what I know is that soaking beans water should always be cold, not hot... Anyways, they were so "young" that probably no soaking would have worked too!
Sorry about your headache :( Hope you have fun in Washington :D

smörgåsbroad said...

Rich or not, those look pretty bitchin. Oh to have duck at my disposal!

And god, Norway is crippling. I so want to be home...in a familiar kitchen not least of all.

Foodycat said...

They do look delicious. I think you need to get the le creuset cocottes for next year. But so much effort! I only make cassoulet when I already have some confit in the freezer.

Peter M said...

Smart cookie going to the thrift stores for some new dinnerware for pics (I do it too).

It's now autumn, cassoulet season, if you will...you've kicked off the comfy food phase.

abadeeba said...

Golden Age rocks...like a ghetto blaster.

Heather said...

Mark - It's a conspiracy! The government doesn't want your mind to be blown this hard. I'm already better (a big glass of water and a multi-vitamin usually does the trick).

Traci - I'm tryna do this kind of food as much as possible until parenthood beckons.

Petah - Haha! That explains it, I guess. (#^-^#)

Alex - You can already buy the mp3 album (as of last Tuesday). It's really great.

Núria - I think I'll try more little dishes in small crockery. For the sake of autumn. :)

smörgåsbroad - Not a lot of Chinese groceries in Oslo? Guess you'll just have to eat gorgeous fillets of salmon and ryekrisp. :P

Mr. The Greek - There's no other way, really. Even trips to Ikea get to be a bit much (and I don't need 8 of everything).

Abadeeba - Oh man doesn't that vid make you grin and squee? I fucking love it.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow! That looks totally awesome Heather! I think I have to wait another month or so to be able to enjoy something so rich!

glamah16 said...

Those little dishes of cassulet look wonderful. I have never seen beans that color. I know the process is draining but I bet it worth it in the taste. I have travel itis but I want some duck know!Have a safe trip to Washington.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Cassoulet is a lot of work, but so worth it. Your little ones look amazing! Save me a place. I'll be right over as soon as I can catch a flight! ;)

We Are Never Full said...

hells yeah - tv on the radio! brooklyn, baby (have to support the brooklyn bands).

ok, BIG BIG booty claps all around for you - you actually took the TIME to really do cassoulet. fuck yeah!!! i just had an artery clog as i read the post. delish. have fun watching the vegetation.

maybelle's mom said...

I am glad they kept some of their pink color. it looks deliciously decadent the dish.

Emiline said...

Heeeyyy. Have a good time in Washington. Do something fun! And report back.

The little cassolulettes sound good. I remember when you made cassoulet during the winter(?).

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Sounds fantastic! I'll have to give Cassoulette a try when the weather cools off over here.

kittie said...

Oh dear, so jaded for one so young...

Oooohh - I almost bought 4 of the LC mini cocottes last week in a sale - but given I'm trying to run down my kitchen before the move, I figured I better be good and desist...

Anyway, sorry these didn't work out for you. I think more wine might help y'know...

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

That's some fabulously well-cooked duck right there. Yum. One of my fave all-time dishes.

Bordeaux ALWAYS helps.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Oh that does look so incredibly good and rich Heather!!! I love your cassoulettes!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

My mouth is watering just looking at those photos. You have no idea. I started reading about confiting the duck and I got this Homer-Simpson-like gurgle-drool reflex. I'm sorry you're feeling some bad after-effect, but they have to be so worth it!

Brittany said...

I LOVE Tv on the radio!! Hadn't seen the video though- thx for the link. It looks like they're on the top of the cliffs of insanity from the princess bride- ya know where wesley and indigo have their sword fight?

I also love your cassoulettes. Those Le Crueset pots are like 70 fucking bucks each. Fuck that.

Hey- you'll be in my hood!

Lo said...

Oh, how I love thee, Heather.
These look scrumptious.

Do have fun in Washington...!

Zen Chef said...

My cholesterol levels went up 50 points while reading this post haha. And boy, I know beans can be bitches to cook too. I made some duck confit last week and it was awesome. The best part about the fall is that we can start eating all these fatty foods again. Long live duck fat roux!

Norm Schoen said...

Did someone say "Bordeaux"?

Nik Snacks said...

I've never had cassoulet before. The decadence and importance of duck, it's fat, and everything in between is lost on me. I have had, however, pots of beans seasoned with ham hocks, Smithfield ham, or just regular cured bacon or pork belly. And plenty of thick, fluffy hunks of cornbread slathered with butter to know what I'm talkin' about. I thought those were butter beans in there...you know, those are my favorite :)

Have fun skipping through the field, playing nice with the other scientists.

toni said...

Taking on a cassoulette when you feel like you're coming down with something is over-the-top crazy!! I've only made a cassoulette once, and I probably came down with something afterward, having been drained of all my energy!!

Leigh said...

these...just...look...AWESOME...