French Language Blog

Recette pour un très bon cassoulet Posted by on Dec 7, 2014 in Culture

Well, it’s cold out, and nothing quite warms me up better than a good cassoulet. Qu’est-ce que c’est (what’s that?)? You’ll find plenty of variations, but a good cassoulet is always a slow-cooked white bean and meat stew. It’s a pretty heavy (assez bourratif) dish, and it’s generally served at lunchtime. Attention: ce n’est pas pour le régime! (Careful: this isn’t a diet dish!)

This dish is named after the traditional dish it’s cooked in, la cassole. This earthenware dish houses all the meat and vegetables in the oven, and it’s served from the same dish.

There’s no question of its origin — ce plat vient du sud (this dish comes from the south) — but there’s an old quarrel of its original location. Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, and Toulouse all claim to be the rightful creators. Even today, the dish varies in its composition in these cities. If you like le porc et le mouton (pork and mutton), the Toulouse variety may be le meilleur choix pour vous (the best choice for you). Vous préférez le confit de canard (do you prefer duck confit? [Qu’est-ce que c’est? Confit is a cooking process that involves using salt to cure a piece of meat and then cooking it in its own fats])? You may enjoy the Castelnaudary variety. A Carcassonne, le cassoulet est similaire à celui qu’on retrouve à Toulouse, mais la quantité de mouton est doublée. (In Carcassonne, their cassoulet is similar to Toulouse’s, but they double the quantity of mutton). Parfois, le canard est remplacé avec de la perdrix. (Sometimes, the duck is replaced with partridge).

This dish has been called the chili of France. Everyone has their own way of preparing it. Julia Child has even said, “This is a peasant dish. There aren’t any actual rules.” Below is a typically traditional version, but you can also add some carrots, onions, celery, and garlic for an even tastier version! The recipe is printed below in English, but you can also download PDF versions in both anglais and français.

And if you’re looking for an accompanying wine, le rouge est le meilleur choix. Try it with a good Madiran, Bandol, or Cahors. If you insist on le vin blanc, try it with a Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Sec.

“Un cassoulet sans vin, c’est comme un curé sans latin” – Pierre Desproges


pour 4 personnes

400g of white beans
1 tube sausage
4 pork spare ribs
4 duck legs
garlic, thyme, bay leaf



  1. Soak the beans overnight in cold water.
  1. With a strainer, drain the beans. Place them in a pan and cover with unsalted cold water. Add 5 cloves of garlic, some thyme, and a bay leaf. Let it cook for a half an hour just up to boil.
  1. While the beans are cooking, cook the pork spare ribs in a pan. Once they’re finished and in the same pan, cook the sausage. Finally, cook the duck legs. If you’re getting the wings from a can, make sure to wash off all the fat before cooking.
  1. Preheat the oven to about 230°F.
  1. To construct the cassoulet, add a layer of the beans without its water. For the next layer, add some meat. Continue until you reach the top of the baking pan. Add salt and pepper if you feel the need. Add in some of the water from the beans.
  1. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
  1. Bake in the oven for 3 hours.


Bon appétit! Make it, and let us know what you think!

Download this recipe in English or Téléchargez cette recette en français

Keep learning French with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Josh Dougherty

Just your typical francophile. If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss, feel free to let me know!