First of all, let’s be honest, husbands never want to buy anything. They like the feeling of cold hard cash plastered against their ass like paper mache. So as a general rule, it’s wise to disregard their protests, especially when you’re in Newfoundland and you see a really great pot—rather, a cassoulet— and it’s on sale. You know that if you stuff the belly of that pot with undergarments everything will fit snugly into your carry-on. After all, what else are you going to buy in Newfoundland other than a seal skin handbag? Well, maybe you could buy a couple of really cute hand painted rocks that you could pop into the cups of that bra you’ll use to stuff your pot.Or maybe you could also buy a bird puzzle for your sister, or a super cute butter dish that looks like a genuine dinghy and a six pack of Quidi-Vidi beer that you’ll drink before you ever board the plane, but other than that—why not get the pot? It’s a cassoulet!
When your husband finds you cradling the shiny pot in the All-Clad display of the Home store on Water Street, he says, “What are you going to cook in that?”
You say, ” Coq au vin.”
He says “You never cook coq au vin.”
“Exactly. I’ve never had the right pot.”
He picks up the cassoulet to test its weight, holds it into the light, rubs a spot with the bottom of his shirt and says, “Well, I’m not carrying it,” and drops it back into your open arms.
You smile and head to the register.
Flash forward several months and you still haven’t made Coq au Vin. You do, however, regularly peer inside your pot drawer and admire the sleek sexy lines of your cassoulet and imagine a delicious a braised and slow-cooked meal bubbling inside, but the right recipe has yet to rear its head. Coq au Vin suddenly seems too base, too provincial for your precious cassoulet.
When you receive the October issue of Food & Wine magazine, the picture on the cover screams, “Time to bring out the cassoulet!” Of course, had you never bought the cassoulet, had you never seized the moment on that foggy Newfoundland day you would only be able to look at the recipe for Coconut-Braised Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes and say,“Wow. That looks delicious. I should really buy a cassoulet sometime.”
Then you’d bury the magazine in a pile and you’d never make the dish or buy the cassoulet.
With the recipe stocked full of your favourite ingredients—coconut, ginger, lime, garlic and cilantro, how could you go wrong? Even though you substitute Portuguese Chourizo for Mexican Chorizo and add two times as much as the recipe calls for, and you don’t even bother with the ground up coffee beans, and you add two full cans of coconut milk (instead of 3 cups—why waste a third of a can?) as well as a carrot, and since you don’t have enough regular potatoes you add a couple of sweet potatoes to make up the difference, the results are still very impressive. Your cassoulet does not disappoint. You can braise, bake and serve everything in this one wonderfully expensive pot.
Not surprisingly, your husband is very quiet at dinner while eagerly lapping up what just might be the most delicious dish he’s ever tasted. When the meal is over, he cradles the cassoulet in the warm water of the kitchen sink, gingerly cleaning its belly, full of gratitude for his wife’s foresight and determination. If you listen closely, he’s humming a jaunty French tune.
Follow the recipe here by clicking on the link Coconut-Braised Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes and feel free to make the substitutes I mention above. I would also suggest using 8 chicken pieces instead of 6 and a mixture of thighs and legs. Oh, and I also used a fresh finger chilli instead of a dried one. The recipe seems to be very forgiving and ever so crazy delicious.