Mounjetado/Mongetado – cassoulet in Ariège


There are a lot of recipes for cassoulet here in the southwest of France. Castelnaudary, Carcassonne or Toulouse fight for the crown of the best recipe or the most original one.

Cassoulet is a hearty dish and meant for winter, but restaurants here serve it to tourists in the summer when a lighter diet may be called for.

The origin of the dish goes far beyond the introduction of freezers and other electric appliances, and even before that tomatoes became known in France in the 16th century.

This means that most meats are salted or confit — preserved in fat.

In the mounjetado or “estouffad de mounges” (slowly cooked beans) here in the Ariège people use “coustellous” (salted spare ribs), dried liver sausage and another sausage made from pig’s rind – the couenne.

In my version, I used spare ribs (less salty), dropped the liver sausage and added confit de canard – because I had made that previously – and fresh sausage.

No tomatoes here, but onions and carrots.

The white beans had been prepared in season and stored away.

This dish does not call for an entrée or dessert.

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Babi Pangang, a stowaway recipe for spicy roasted pork belly

Some recipes live a life of their own and obtain fame in a country far away from where a dish is supposed to have originated.

So it is with Babi pangang, a famous dish in the Netherlands widely available in Chinese and Indonesian restaurants.

In itself, the name Babi panggang is Malay for roasted pig.  In Indonesia, the people are for almost 90 per cent Muslim and do not eat pork.

But there are people, like the Batak of North Sumatra, that do eat pork and have dishes of charcoal roasted pork with sauces of blood or with spicy sambal.

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Pork chops with celery and potato purée

Winter is the season for root vegetables like the celery, as well as the truffle.

Celery is inexpensive while truffles are rather expensive, but there are ways to overcome this and add a bit of truffle flavour to a dish with truffle oil.

So I did here, I cooked a chopped-up celery with six potatoes, then blended that with some stock, reheated it and added some drops of truffle oil.

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Spareribs with a garlic and chilli sauce

On our village market there is a stall of a butcher specialising in pork.
The Landsmann family comes form the east of France, where many people live with German-sounding names due to the changing position of the borders over the centuries.
One of his best-selling products is ‘travers de porc’; a cut of ribs with a chunk of filet attached.
I grill it on the barbecue. Here I added a sauce of soy, garlic and dried chillies for a spicy taste.

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Rack of pork with two apples, lemon grass and ginger

A lovely Sunday lunch or dinner dish, combining hearty pork meat with apples and adding an Asian touch. Because of the apples, I could not resist using some cider. Ingredients 500 grammes of boned rack of pork (or shoulder) tied up as a roast Four Granny Smith apples Four Boskoop apples Two sticks of lemon … Read more