Cassoulet calls out for a hearty wine, say Madiran, Cahors or Bordeaux. Bordeaux is one of the most popular categories of wine here at Esquin. The reason being is that there are truly Great Bordeaux – the First Growths like Margaux, Rothschild, Haut Brion – but also great Bordeaux that you can afford to drink every day. There are few categories where you can find great wines from $10 to $1000 bucks and every price point in between.
That classic profile of currant, plum, cedar, graphite, earth and grippy tannins is what makes Bordeaux a great pairing for hearty fare like Cassoulet. In fact the Tannins are easily smoothed out by the cassoulets fat content. A perfect example of the quality price performance is the Chateau La Couronne from outside St Emilion.
Chateau La Couronne Montagne – Saint Emilion Reserve 2012 $21.99
This wine from propietor Thomas Thio is dense, masculine, powerfully extracted and rich. This is an intense, full-throttle wine, which is impressive given the fact that it is from the satellite appellation of Montagne St. Emilion. Look for it to drink well for another 10 years. 2012 is a sleeper of a vintage.
90 points Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate.
There are many versions of Cassoulet as there are French grandmothers and Chefs. Some include lamb, pork shoulder, or even partridge. Below I give you a basic version that comes very close to traditional.
1 lb. dried white beans (Flageolet)
8 1/4 cups cold water
3 fresh Thyme sprigs
1 fresh Rosemary sprig
1 each Bay Leaf
4 each Cloves
1/4 tsp Black Pepper Corns
2 tbl Olive Oil
4 oz. Bacon, diced
2 cups chopped onion (3/4 lb.)
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrot, peeled diced
3 tsp finely chopped garlic (6 large cloves
14-oz can stewed tomatoes, chopped with juice
2 cups beef broth
1 tbl tomato paste
4 each confit duck legs* (1 3/4 lb. total)
1 lb. garlic pork sausage
1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Special equipment: an 8-inch square of cheesecloth; kitchen string; a 4 1/2 to 5 quart casserole dish (3 to 4 inches deep)