Winter Celebration of Red Wines of the Southwest

It is winter and Wine Traditions has a beautiful selection of red wines from the Southwest of France, featuring the appellations of Cahors, Gaillac, Irouleguy, Madiran, and Marcillac. These delicious wines are at once hearty and fresh steeped in aromas of earth and herbs and soaked-in sunshine. They are fruity, tonic, warming and comforting, perfect in these cold winter months.

AND, these wines are ideal to be consumed with the quintessential winter dish of the Southwest region. Cassoulet!

Seize the moment!

Toulouse-Style Cassoulet Recipe - Paula Wolfert | Food & Wine

Not to say that winter is fleeting, on the contrary, we have a few more months of sitting by the fire and cooking at home. We think it might be a moment to contemplate the historied dish that is Cassoulet while we sip our favorite winter reds from the region and get inspired for whatever version we decide to make.

And it may take a while……….

Garlic, goose fat, pork fat, confits, sausages, duck, lamb, and pork meats, breadcrumbs, carrots. The controversies are many and unresolved as to what is contained in a true Cassoulet.


Three towns claim to be the home of the authentic Cassoulet; Castelnaudary, Toulouse and Carcassonne and each hold true to ritualized versions. They are referred to as “The Trinity.” It constitutes high drama. In Castelnaudary, it is pure pork, fresh pork, pork knuckle, ham, pork sausage and pork rind.

In Toulouse, to the Castelnaudry formula is added either duck or goose confit, and in Carscassonne they add chunks of lamb and, in season, partridge.

One thing for sure, the beans are at the core .

Cassoulet connoisseurs give equal, if not more importance to the beans as to the meats. It is thought that the original recipe was made with fresh fava beans but it has evolved into a very rich wintery dish made from white beans from the Southwest where one finds many native varieties, most famously Tarbais, Pamiers, Lingots, and Cocos.

Below is a recipe, for inspiration, from “Goosefat & Garlic” by Jeanne Strang. After years of delving into the depths of what is Cassoulet, Jeanne created a recipe she calls a “concensus approach,” not confined to the purism of the Trinity. We also recommend recipes from Paula Wolfort’s “The Cooking of Southwest France.” She dedicates a full chapter to Cassoulet including recipes for the 3 classic variations, and also one that emulates the supposed original version made from fava beans.

Jeanne’s recipe


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