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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Hmm, Casoulet!

My pork shoulder has been going in the crock pot for 2 1/2 hours now. Here's the whole recipe:

Put one pound of white beans in a pot of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and put the lid on the pot. (The trick here is that by doing it this way, the beans are getting softer, but at a slow rate where you don't have to worry about ruining them, so your attention can be on other things.)

Brown pork shoulder in oil. When done, place in crock pot.

Dump out the oil, then de-glaze the pot with one quart of chicken stock. When the stock has come to a boil, pour it over the shoulder. (I like to heat anything I add to the crock pot first, since the thing takes so long to heat up.) If your stock is low sodium, you might want to add some salt as well.

Add a package of cubed prosciutto to the pot, noting well that there is an 'o' on the end of the word 'prosciutto,' and recalling that there are no silent, final vowels in Italian.
Add two bay leaves, a little chopped-up thyme and parsley, a chopped tomato, a few generous turns of the grinder of black pepper, and an entire, unpeeled head of garlic. (Wait until you see what we do with this later!)

Reduce 2 cups of white wine by about half over a low flame. Then pour the reduced wine over the shoulder.

After an hour, add two duck confit legs to the pot.

After four more hours, saute 2 large carrots, 1 onion, and 3 ribs of celery in olive oil until they are *not quite done*. (They will cook more in the pot, of course, but very slowly.) Add to the pot.

Check your beans. You want them nice and soft at the end, but not mush, so you want them *almost* nice and soft before you put them in. Heat them more now if need be, then add them to the crock pot.

Grill four merguez sausages. Slice them up and add them to the pot.

You should plan on a total cooking time of about eight hours on low heat. As you go along, you can skim liquid fat off the top of the broth. Don't worry, there will still be plenty left when the dish is finished!

At about seven hours, you need to check the pork shoulder. If you can pull it apart easily using two forks, you are done early!

In any case, once you *can* pull it apart easily, you have three steps remaining:

Remove the head of garlic. Squeeze the insides out of all of the cloves and into a bowl. Mash them with a fork, and then add them back into the crock pot. Stir to mix this garlic paste evenly through the broth.

Shred the pork shoulder.

De-bone and shred the duck legs.

Serve with a loaf of French bread.



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