Estouffat de Haricot Blancs
Region: France, Languedoc
Etouffée means “smothered,” and it is a style of slow cooking in a tightly covered casserole with very little liquid or fat. In the southern French province of Languedoc, several foods seem so exalted that I forever think of them going together--beans, duck, and garlic. These, of course, are some of the classic ingredients of cassoulet. In this preparation from Carcassonne, a medieval walled city between the capital Toulouse and the Mediterranean coast, small white beans are flavored with salt pork, duck fat, tomatoes and garlic for a substantial and delicious dish that is very nice with roast sausages, duck, goose, or lamb.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 8 servings
Preparation Time: 1:15 hours
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and blanch the salt pork for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Place the beans in a large saucepan, cover with cold water by several inches, add the salt, and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until almost soft, about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large casserole, preferably earthenware, brown the salt pork with the goose or duck fat over medium-high heat until brown and lightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, tomatoes, and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and the tomatoes saucy, about 10 minutes, turning frequently. Add the beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.