I think it was at least 30 years ago, I watched Julia Child make cassoulet, I was intrigued.  I loved JC then, I watched all her shows, and for Christmas, I got one of her cookbooks.   I don’t really like to cook.  Today, I realized I only like to cook once in a while, and then it is very complicated recipes that I prefer.  Good to have some self realization, I guess.

so, for some reason (actually a specific reason is: not being able to visit and be a real grandma to my granddaughter in the way I imagined)  I needed a distraction.  I just read Julia Powell’s book on the Julie/Julia project, and was itching to make something.  Boeuff Bourgignon was high on the list from Scott, but I’ve made it before.  I kept mulling over ideas, perfect roast chicken (I’ve done her roast chicken already) and then suddenly, I remembered.  Cassoulet.

It required a $100 purchase of an enameled dutch oven.  Not Le Creuset, as I would have preferred, but an off brand at BBandB.  I couldn’t find duck confit, so used duck breast.  I had to guess on the sausage, only to find out that any will do, and you can combine types.  But in the end, the very delicious end, to me, I made good choices.  The one duck breast was almost $15, the sausage $6, the lamb $4, the veg, on hand mostly – celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, probably $3, the butter, (on hand, duh) $2,  the herbs, $6-7 total (I so want an herb garden, and can have one if I just do it.)  So, 36-40 bucks for the entire pot, most of which will be thrown out, I’m sure.

I didn’t have one recipe to follow – Julia’s takes a week Tony’s a few days, Pepin’s quick version 30 minutes.  I found a random blogger and made it in several hours.  Plus shopping time.

First, I washed the new pot.  Next, I heated it, melted butter and dumped in the bacon.  Sauteed that for a few, then threw in the lamb. Browned it.  Took it out, Chucked in the duck.  Browned, repeat with sausage.  Tossed in veg (I cut it while meat was browning) and made the bouquie garni  All the while, I was doing a quick soak on the washed and picked over Great Northern beans.  It was almost perfect timing – the bean quick soak and the prep of the other stuff at the same time, with a small break in there somewhere.

It all came together, and was put in the oven.  My new casserole is heavy!  I confessed to being a brand name girl and wishing it was a Le Creuset, much to Scott’s disconsternation.

I did the two bread crumb applications, requiring the use of my new Ninja blender system, which needs it’s own cabinet, at the least, since I have to figure it out each time.

Fresh bread crumbs from a fresh baguette, with parsley, garlic and butter are delicious.

Once the bubbling, crispy topped dish was brought out of the oven I put it on the stove top, and froze.  I stared at it.

I actually did something that I’ve looked forward to doing for over 30 years.  I burst into tears.  I’m sure somebody out there understands what can’t be explained.

I wrote to my first politician (Nixon) at age 9.  i started planning JC meals shortly after that.  I am a nerd  A politics junkie.  A cooking junkie, if you cout reading and watching it, but only really ever wanting to make complicated recipes*  so it is no surprise that I decided within a few days of meeting him, I wanted to marry my hubs, from New Orleans, who loves to cook.


beouff bourgignon

cog au casserot

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