What I had for dinner:

New York Cassoulet

[ Previous ] 11 Dec 1997 00:30:03 -0500 [   Next   ]

It's been a long year full of excitement, but on this first day of Real Winter, in the lull just before the first anniversary celebration of Home Office Records, I finally found time to cook something fit for the weather.

Some 3 weeks ago, around Thanksgiving, I bought a goose at Fairway. Now, there is no way I would manage to roast it and eat it before New Year, what with dining on the run 5 or 6 nights a week while I dash from dba to Arlene to dba to Luna to dba to Sidewalk to dba to CB's Gallery to dba. A confit was the obvious solution: the meat, cooked at relatively low temperature entirely under the melted fat from the bird, can be preserved for very long times, and is ready to use.

I therefore cut the meat into 10 pieces, and set it aside while I rendered all the fat in a large pot. To my surprise, one goose barely produces enough fat to cover the meat, but I managed. The strained fat, free from water, was heated to about 275F in a tall pot, then the well dried meat pieces were added and the temperature was kept above 212F to ensure that there would be no residual juices. The meat was cooked until well done; it browns well, and can be flaked off with a fork. This takes at least an hour, depending on the size of the pieces and the temperature. Be patient and make sure your kitchen hood is working properly!

The cooked meat was then packed tightly into a glass jar and covered completely with fat, then placed in the fridge waiting for a hungry day.

The hungry day having arrived, I set the confit to melt in hot water, and meanwhile cooked some smoked bacon pieces and smoked sausage slices in a sauce pan, then added one chopped onion and continued to cook until the onion was completely wilted. I then added one small can of chopped tomatoes (this is _Manhattan_ cassoulet, after all), some goose broth (from the carcass and scraps of said bird), several cloves of garlic sliced thick, one can of well-washed white kidney beans, several broken pieces of goose confit, and clove, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaf, and pepper, and simmered for about 20 min.

Salted to taste, and served with thick sourdough bread and a bottle of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, vintage 1995. Yum!

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