The perfect cassoulet recipe and four wines to pair with it.
January 9th is International Cassoulet Day, and if you have not had the opportunity to try this deeply soulful dish please make it your mission to do so this year. Cassoulet is the ultimate comfort dish—indeed, it’s the only bean-based dish my children literally beg for. It involves several simple steps yet to fully develop the soul of this meal one must devote several hours to preparation. Most agree the origins of cassoulet start somewhere near Castelnaudary, France—in the heart of the Languedoc. Composed of beans, pork, duck, and sausages it was originally a peasant dish but has since evolved into a cult of sorts with several villages debating who can claim provenance. There is even an Academie Universelle du Cassoulet –an organization dedicated to the preservation of the dish’s cultural heritage. And, just to be sure everything in your cassoulet is up to code, the French also have The Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet brotherhood—whose members wear hats shaped like the traditional cassoulet tureen—and conduct spot checks of local restaurants to ensure they are making the dish correctly.
The creamy white beans and savory meats are the perfect match for the region’s wines. Languedoc’s rich, structured red wines, especially from AOP regions like Minervois and Corbiéres, are generally composed of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. They are wines of deep and fruity concentration, stitched together with dried herbs and spices. Below you’ll find a traditional recipe and some wine suggestions that will make your hard work on the cassoulet sing just an octave higher.
Chateau Sainte-Eulalie Minervois La Livinière “La Cantilene” 2015: Ripe, rich and fleshy with deeply fruity notes of blackberry and plum. Organically farmed on an estate that sits about one hour east of the cassoulet birthplace, Castelnaudary. La Liviniere is considered to be a cru Languedoc wine and enjoys its own appellation because of the quality of the fruit in this area. This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Average price $19.