Friday, January 11, 2008

A Moral Dilemna

Is it right to fool with tradition?

For instance, cassoulet is a wonderful dish from Toulouse and Carcassone in Southwest France that is made of white beans and roasted meats, such as pork, mutton, sausages, bacon, goose and duck. Naturally, something this delicious should cook for four to five hours, not counting the twelve hours needed for the beans to soak overnight.

Seventeen hours... a full day really, to produce a dish full of flavor and tradition.

Or... maybe

Twenty minutes to pre-cook the beans in the pressure cooker, ten minutes to prep and assemble the other ingredients, chicken (I had no duck handy... but this is a dish that varies from village to village, so I think that I am safe on that account), smoked sausage, garlic, green onions, bay, thyme, rosemary, celery tomatoes (canned, diced and sun dried for different flavors), bacon (nature's candy!). I returned the beans to the pot with these ingredients, some home made beef stock (I used up the chicken... must make more this weekend) and turned the Mimi on low pressure for 15 minutes.

Within an hour... VoilĂ ! Semi-authentic Cassoulet.

Now, I am almost afraid of what other long cooking dishes I can accomplish in an hour. And is it the right thing to do? Well, it is certainly delicious!

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