Charcuterie is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork. Originally intended as a way to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration, they are prepared today for their flavors derived from the preservation processes. (From Wikipedia).
We are very lucky that a Polish butcher brings these products to our doorstep; he has a stall at the Rosebank Rooftop Market every Sunday morning and we are able to select exactly what we want for the week ahead. Of course these things are all available at supermarkets, but getting them from this man, snuggly wrapped in brown-paper blankets, makes them a little more special.
Last Sunday I bought:
Ham (for the week’s sandwiches); a really smoky length of sausage (half was used for a pea soup earlier in the week and the rest for the Cassoulet today), a beef fillet carpaccio (which we will eat for lunch tomorrow with some crusty bread and a salad) and some kassler steaks (also to go in the Cassoulet).
Cassoulet is a casserole made from a variety of meats, cooked with white beans. The name originates from the cassole, and traditional earthenware dish made in the South-Western region of France. I don’t own a cassole, so I use my cast-iron pot and just cook it at a lower temperature to prevent burning.
My version contains smoked meats: kassler steaks and sausage, and I try to limit the vegetables to white ones; I cook white beans and chickpeas overnight.
It is important that the meat doesn’t touch the bottom of the cooking vessel; it must not fry or roast, rather be ‘coddled’ by the vegetables during cooking. I place the meat onto a base of potato wedges and beans. I add chopped tomatoes, onions and white wine, as well as garlic and herbs to the covering layer of beans and leave it in the oven (Lid On : 150C) for 2 and a-half hours.
It’s a robust dish, I think I have a bottle of Fleur du Cap that’s a syrah blend … should match each other quite nicely.