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ISO an Authentic Cassole for Cassoulet


Carolyn Tillie
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I did a search to see if this topic had been covered before and the closest I got was a discussion on Earthenware that drifted towards recommendations of Emile Henry products.

I am looking for an authentic stoneware cassole into which I can make my authentic cassoulet.

Not being able to read French, I am having a hard time even searching French sites for some place where I can mail order one and I have no friends travelling to that area any time soon.

Any brilliant eGulleters out there with a source -- or someone in France want to help me buy one?

Merci!

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Carolyn, I made a cassolet this year. I bought TARBAIS beans from France, and I

spoke with the Chef at Les Halles in New York for tilps. I have his e-mail, if you

want to talk with him.

I use Le Creuset pot. And it really is worth the cost. I bought it at William Sonoma, I

figured that the shipping wouldn't be worth getting it by mail. We have made osso

bucco in it several times this year and it's unbelievable in this pot.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks, Jat.

I have a plethora of pots into which I can make the Cassoulet and that was not the difficulty -- it is just the desire for authenticity.

It is hard to explain, but if you saw my kitchen you would undestand. I have a professional, antique Hamilton Beach soda fountain-style shake maker (the kind that makes three at a time, not just one), an American Duplex Grindmaster coffee grinder (like the ones you find in gourmet grocery stores -- except that mine is really old), etc...

Yeah, there are more modern, acceptable utensils and gadgets that will do the job, but somehow the oysters taste better on an oyster plate, the pates taste better in an antique terrine, and I think my Cassoulet would taste better out of an authentic cassole (but I'm a hopeless romantic . :raz: )

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This site has I think what you are looking for. I've used them before...free shipping.

Cutlery and more...Emile Henry

Again, thanks but no... Read my first post - I mention the Emile Henry product line which contains things that will work, but not the authentic product.

I have received an incredibly generous offer to borrow one for the holidays, but still hoping to eventually acquire one of my own.

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Yeah, there are more modern, acceptable utensils and gadgets that will do the job, but somehow the oysters taste better on an oyster plate, the pates taste better in an antique terrine, and I think my Cassoulet would taste better out of an authentic cassole (but I'm a hopeless romantic . :raz: )

It's an affliction, but I'm not sure there's any good to come of being cured of it. :biggrin:

Populaire, familial, le vrai cassoulet (pas l'horreur que l'on vend en boîte !) est confectionné uniquement avec des produits originaires du Lauragais, et cuit dans une poterie locale, la "cassole" qui lui a donné son nom. Pour être tout à fait authentique, cette cassole de terre cuite doit même provenir d'un village du Lauragais nommé Issel.

Alas, the page doesn't give a mail order address for a pottery shop although it offers a recipe, a list of three restaurants and three conserveries. I trust the latter list is not of places that sell it "en boite." :biggrin:

An Issel site offers all sorts of gastronomy and business addresses, but it appears as if there's not a potter in town. :biggrin:

I'm not sure I've heard the term "cassole" before. It seems to come from the Langue d'Oc "cassòla" and obviously gives its name to the dish the way terrine does to a "terrine."

If you're really set on authenticity, I've read that in Castelnaudry, you'd bring your cassole to the bread bakery where it would cook in the baker's oven. That's not an untraditional way of making long cooked dishes in France, hence the name à la boulangère for long braised dishes.

Photographs of cassoles. Click, click, click, click click for detail.

As relief for those of you who have found all those French links intimidating I offer

Southern Style Pork Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a white kidney bean dish which originated as a country dish in the Languedoc region of France. It was originally cooked in an earthenware dish called a cassole d'Issel, and that is how it got its name. The dish spread to many regions of France, and there are many recipes for it. Each region considers their version to be the true masterpiece. The following is my own adaptation of the dish. While it might not meet the approval of the great French chefs, my guests have always enjoyed it, and the fact is, I do not usually entertain French chefs, great or otherwise.

This is from On Southern Cooking.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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To judge from Robert's pictures, e.g., the third, the ideal cassole is narrow at the bottom and wide at the top, (to maximize surface area for meat and crust, of course). I am not sure that these aren't earthenware (at least some of them) and not stoneware.

If you can't find the real thing, I would reccomend calling the Spanish Table to see what they have. The traditional Spanish earthenware ollas and cazuelas are very well suited to cooking beans, but they are not wider at the top. They may, however, have something shaped more similarly to these cassoles.

Spanish Table

(206) 682.2827

Their website appears to be down.

(Or, take a giant tagine and turn it upside down!)

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I would imagine a large earthen mixing bowl would work perfectly. I guess I would test it in the oven with some water to see if it can stand the heat.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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  • 2 years later...

Actually, the progression of my hunting for a cassole ultimately encouraged this firm to produce that pot. In 2003, when I began my search, my only hope was having someone travelling to and from France to bring me one. For the first several years, I ended up borrowing pots from Ms. Wolfert to create my cassoulet. She then began a dialogue with this firm and we are now both proud owners of this American-made cassole. By all accounts, they have produced almost a hundred cassoles and every few months, I get e-mails from folks who are thrilled to be able to acquire an affordable, effective, stunning cassole.

This year's cassole, as a matter of fact, was produced in exactly one of these pots -- a Christmas present from the divine Ms. Wolfert... :wub:

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  • 9 months later...

I have had cassoulet in France on numerous occasions, so I was delighted when Ms. Woolfert's latest book offered a source for the required pot. I wondered if anybody knew of any others?. I already have a number of sources in France, so I am really looking for a US or Canadian source (preferably Quebec, since its close). R.S.V.P.

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I have had cassoulet in France on numerous occasions, so I was delighted when Ms. Woolfert's latest book offered a source for the required pot.  I wondered if anybody knew of any others?.  I already have a number of sources in France, so I am really looking for a US or Canadian source (preferably Quebec, since its close).  R.S.V.P.

i am a potter living in new hampshire and i am sure there are many pottersin the vicinity of underhill who would gladly make a cassole for you. just don't experct it ready for xmas. i know there is a group of potters in montpelier and in burlington and i think you should get in contact with them. if they can't do one they can probably recommend someone who could and who is willing to make it..

btw, my husband wants cassoulet badly but i have been too lazy to cook it for him. in two days we are off to nice, france to spend the holidays with our son and his family. they knew of their father's wishes and told me they are preparing an authentic toulouse cassolet for him. maybe that will get me off the hook

good luck,

alienor

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I'm probably a bit late here, but I'll post this anyway.

For an authentic cassole try here. They seem to have no problem shipping to the states & their prices seem reasonable.

As to the need for one I'm doubtful. Like Paula Wolfert I think any oven proof glazed clay pot with a wide open top will do the job. I happen to prefer one with a lid because I like to retain all of the moisture during the first cooking. I then take the lid off for all of the finishing & crust making. anyway...

I suspect that the cassole is indeed traditional if you are making a casoulette de Castelnaudry. As pointed out earlier you would take your dish to the boulanger for cooking in his bread oven. ( we could do this as recently as 3 years ago in our village. I never did it for a casoulette, but did for various daube's.)

In other places such as Toulouse & Carcassone As best I can tell other wide mouthed casseroles were used. Certainly I've rarely seen a cassole used further North.

I don't pretend to be a real expert, but I have been eating casoulette in France for slightly over 40 years so have a certain amount of experience. I've been making my own for over twenty years. And I've lived in SW France for the past nearly 6 years.

My proudest casoulette moment came last February when Marie-Therese, our village friend's 83 year old mother who speaks mostly occitan, not only praised my casoulette, but asked for the recipe! I was insufferably vain for weeks.

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I have had cassoulet in France on numerous occasions, so I was delighted when Ms. Woolfert's latest book offered a source for the required pot.  I wondered if anybody knew of any others?.  I already have a number of sources in France, so I am really looking for a US or Canadian source (preferably Quebec, since its close).  R.S.V.P.

i am a potter living in new hampshire and i am sure there are many pottersin the vicinity of underhill who would gladly make a cassole for you. just don't experct it ready for xmas. i know there is a group of potters in montpelier and in burlington and i think you should get in contact with them. if they can't do one they can probably recommend someone who could and who is willing to make it..

btw, my husband wants cassoulet badly but i have been too lazy to cook it for him. in two days we are off to nice, france to spend the holidays with our son and his family. they knew of their father's wishes and told me they are preparing an authentic toulouse cassolet for him. maybe that will get me off the hook

good luck,

alienor

If you could give me the name(s) of those potters in Vermont I would really appreciate it. Thank you
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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I'd share a couple of photos of the fantastic Clay Coyote cassole that I just got:

gallery_19804_437_364940.jpg

gallery_19804_437_319086.jpg

It's just a beautiful thing, and I'm dying to break it in with this week's cassoulet. I have a potentially dumb question, though, as this is my first piece of stoneware cooking: do I need to do anything save a good wash? Like, um, season it or something?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I thought I'd share a couple of photos of the fantastic Clay Coyote cassole that I just got:

It's just a beautiful thing, and I'm dying to break it in with this week's cassoulet. I have a potentially dumb question, though, as this is my first piece of stoneware cooking: do I need to do anything save a good wash? Like, um, season it or something?

Chris - It is indeed a beautiful thing. No 'seasoning' needed. Just use it as is.

Funny how things happen. As it turns out Linda & I are going down to Castelnaudry tomorrow to buy a Cassole. Its only about 2 hours away & besides Linda wants to stop at the Ikea in Toulouse which is on the way.

My excuse is that I'm cooking casoulette for 15 this Saturday lunch time. My faithful old green pot, big though it is, isn't large enough to cater for 15. Thus I have a good excuse to buy a cassole. Since I'm buying one I may as well go to the ancestral home thereof and get the real thing.

I'll now also be able to run an 'experiment' to see if there is a difference between the casoulette cooked in old faithful vs. the new cassole.

I'll try to take some pictures for posting. I want to do a pictorial version of my casoulette recipe anyway.

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It's just a beautiful thing, and I'm dying to break it in with this week's cassoulet. I have a potentially dumb question, though, as this is my first piece of stoneware cooking: do I need to do anything save a good wash? Like, um, season it or something?

The clay coyote pot is fantastic looking. Since it is made of stoneware it doesn't need to be seasoned.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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If interested please see my post today on the cooking forum; Casoulette cook- off thread.

This tells of buying our cassole today & starts a three part pictorial casoulette recipe.

Can't say my cassole is nearly as wonderful as Chris's, but its workman like, come from the source & the price was right.

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